notes from the dorm
Antique, timeless buildings: they're rustic, historic and havens for pests. Centipedes, spiders and the worst of them all: mice.
It's 5pm on Thursday, and Liz Wong is not ready to deal with such uninvited creatures. After a long dragon boat practice, I am anything but ready to jump into mice-hunting mode. From the practice, I rip through my dorm room, running in circles, trying to somehow shower and eat before my 6pm anthropology class.
As I begin my multi-tasking marathon, to my shock I notice a shoestring tail run across the surface of my desk. I decide to call for help in the form of my 1.8-metre tall first-floor mate. V is a mice-hunting champion.
We run arm in arm to the porter's office, demand a poison trap, run back down to my room and begin the search: two torches, one frightened Chinese girl armed with a mop and one heroic figure from Ontario on the prowl for mouse hiding spots.
But we get nowhere with our search and realise we need professional help - M from Vancouver, yet another among the pest-fighting warriors.
We enter the room, and M immediately hears the critter scrounging around my desk. She peeks into the recycling bin, only to find the frightened mouse running round and round in it.
I grab the mop, and we both jump back. There is only one answer: someone has to take the bin out and set the mouse free.
Backup is needed. We call I from Azerbaijan, tall, hefty and fearless. He comes rushing down in thick, construction boots and says with a wide grin: 'What do you need me to do?' My response: 'Mouse in recycling bin, it needs to go now.' He picks up the feared bin with ease. 'Where?'
'Outside! Outside!' He opens the door to the freezing weather and thrusts the bin into the air.
Out flies the baby mouse that made my heart stop earlier in the day. It makes a quick sprint away from the bin and into the distance.
It has taken four people six to eight hours to get rid of a tiny mouse.
I'm still scared of another mouse finding its way back into my room. But perhaps the antique buildings are just as attractive to mice as to me, and nothing is perfect, even if it means sharing a little piece of history with some uninvited guests.