Bad news? Scary times? These are things all baby boomers share these days with all other generations. But in Montreal, Wendy Reichental got a new twist the other day on bad and scary and as it turns out, in a most unlikely way, it’s related to the pandemic.
Back in the summer of 2015 when we were still marveling at the absurd— instead of living it like we are now— there was a short-lived TV series that I admittedly indulged in called Zoo. The main premise was that with a disturbing amount of violent animal attacks taking place upon unsuspecting humans around the globe, it was up to an elite group of professionals to solve this mysterious phenomenon.
Now I’m not drawing any parallels here, but lately, we have been hearing some eerily strange stories here and abroad. There have been reports of an increase in alligator and shark attacks, of brazen bears ending up in backyard pools and in some cases even making their way into people’s homes scoring snacks, and Netflix’s Tiger King. Even more recently we were introduced to murder hornets, and heard about swarms of cicadas, even biblical locusts!
While some of these accounts have been violent and tragic, others have been classified as just extremely rare. Even within my own city of Montreal, known for many things like the double cheek kiss and oh sigh I miss that, our St. Lawrence waterways celebrated the extremely unusual sighting of a humpback whale. Unfortunately we all too soon mourned its untimely passing. Then a seal with a similar ill fate was seen sunbathing, which according to experts was deemed a first.
Then one aberrant incident took place too close too home.
It was an early summer morning and with my husband working from home, I had gotten used to him stirring at the crack of dawn and settling into his new weekday routine. I on the other hand was enjoying my early retirement and newfound freedom of sleeping in. But on this particular morning the routine would be shaken up for both of us.
I awoke to the cacophony of banging and clanking, things being thrashed and knocked around. Before I could even orient myself with what was happening, my husband flung open the bedroom door and blurted out “We have a problem!” My first thought was that there was an earthquake but then why would he be holding up a broom in self-defense? Then I heard the panicked words, “There’s a mouse in the house!”
I struggled to keep up with what he was telling me, but what it came down to was, he was sitting in the living room reading the newspaper when he heard rustling in the kitchen. He entered the kitchen, switched on the light, and discovered a mouse on our kitchen counter eating away at some pitas left in a plastic bag next to our sink. What ensued could only be described as madcap cartoonish chaos, as my husband played a game of Tom and Jerry before realizing he couldn’t outsmart this rogue rodent which somehow managed to dodge its imminent demise and vanish into thin air.
Since that day, I’ve heard from two friends who are recovering from similar unpleasant encounters of the rodent kind. A phone call to an exterminator confirmed that the Covid-caused closure of some restaurants and an increase in home renovations has all contributed to uprooting the rodent population, forcing them to seek new shelter and food supplies. Could this be what Trump meant when he said suburbs would be under siege?
As an amateur sleuth, I desperately wanted to dig deeper and connect all these uncanny tales. For instance, is this the universe’s way of sending us warning signals to conduct ourselves differently because our behavior and actions are impacting every living thing on this planet and if we don’t clean up our act, further aggressions will be unleashed?
That would be a stretch, but it has been a strange summer indeed, for which I am just grateful to be well. These ongoing months of Covid19 uncertainty and turmoil are unearthing more than just one lucky escape artist mouse somewhere in my house. There are more questions than answers about this pandemic and life under it. Let’s just hope we can continue to spread some kindness, sanity, facts, and humor until the world turns normal again… if it ever does.