Shrove Tuesday. Mardi Gras.
I hate days that begin with 7 AM meetings. But in honor of Shrove Tuesday, I ordered pancakes at the City Diner. Hard sharing with community friends the latest developments. Working hard to keep spirits up.
The major event of the day is the exterminators come. Time to deal seriously with the mice. They’re a fact of city life, but have gotten out of hand ever since I let Rachel leave her carts here. They’ve gotten bold, lost all fear.
The exterminators hit the building like ghostbusters. Checking every nook and cranny. Filling every little hole. And then they get to Rachel’s cart in the back corner of the sanctuary. They come to my office to get me.
You’ve got to come see this, they say. We’ve been doing this for 15 years, never seen anything like this. And they show me the mound of paper torn into tiny shreds by busy mice creating winter condos in Rachel’s SUV cart. And the little guys, popping in and out. Unbelievable, they say, never seen anything…OK, I say, I get it. They set their traps, throw little poison bombs where no humans hang out. They’re supposed to come back in two weeks, but if there’s a high body count, they’ll come back earlier.
Later, Danielle and I are talking She mentions something about the smell and from somewhere back in my mind, a hard memory. A short time after 9-11, a friend was visiting for an urban ministry conference. She’d come in from the suburbs. That smell, she said, it’s everywhere. The air….it’s like when they killed all the mice at our church…and then she looked at me, saw the look on my face, and her face froze. And then she began to cry. I think about sharing this story with Danielle. Then decide not to.
No Mardi Gras for me. Heading to Newark to reach my Theologies of Liberation class. I’m always tired when I get there, get passionately engaged while teaching for 3 hours, then exhausted when I get home. On the train ride home, I’m thinking about exterminators.