Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The mice

This morning the helpful man at Montesi VW in North Haven, Conn., administered a little first aid to my car, and, while craning under the hood, pointed to a small aggregation of husk-like manavalums scattered around the rim of a small circular depression right on top of the motor. “Mice,” he said. My eyebrows shot up, because I was not quite sure what he was suggesting—could my snappy vehicle be infested with rodents, indeed plagued by disease-carrying vermin? “Do you keep it in the garage?” he asked. “Sometimes,” I said, “when it’s snowing, or when I’m out of town.” “The mice like to climb up through the engine and hang out there, cos it’s warm,” he explained.

I was not aware until now that there must be mice in my basement, which is where the garage is. I have never seen or heard a mouse. I have not seen any droppings either. Yet there it was, and there it still is: incontrovertible evidence of mice, viz. droppings right under the hood of my late-model 2011 Volkswagen Eos. Part of me is disgusted by this, and not merely because it might now be prudent to bring in the pest controller. Yet I suppose another part of me is rather intrigued. Upon reflection, as I drove back to the office, these mice are generating a kind of Beatrix Potter-ish vibration. They must be rather bold mice, and comparatively intelligent. Presumably they know better than to clamber up through the innards of my car too soon after I switch the engine off, lest they be fried. And presumably they scram when I get in and start her up, though, again, I have never been aware of any small creature or creatures scuttling away from the front half of my car. I suppose I do not begrudge the mice this form of free hospitality, but the least they could do is to refrain from shitting all over my engine. I felt strangely embarrassed, even shamefaced, when the nice man from Montesi VW pointed this out, although I suppose by now enough other people have had the same problem for it to be quite familiar to him.


  1. This is about the only grief my wife's Volkswagen hasn't been party to.

  2. Hmm. Where you say "manavalums", my mother would say "orts" (and that is an Edwardian word - I later discovered Virginia Woolf used it for scraps of unused writings).