NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

March 14, 2013

Alien hitches ride in family car

I’m here to report that I’ve had a little visitor to my automobile – a mouse.

How do I know? Well, I haven’t seen it, but something has shredded a box of tissues that my wife keeps handy on the floor behind the passenger seat. We also keep a bag of snacks in the same vicinity for emergency use on long trips, but that has not been touched. Nesting must be the motivation rather than eating.

This raises a number of questions. First of all, where did it come from? I’ve never seen a mouse in our driveway, though I’ve found them in the cellar and the garage. Mice, apparently, are everywhere. The boarding mission of this mouse must take place in the dark of night.

And why a car? What’s wrong with the cellar and garage? How does a mouse decide to, I presume, climb up a tire onto the tie rods and subsequently into the engine compartment and passenger cabin? It certainly can’t wait for the car doors to be opened. Perhaps the warmth emanating from a recent trip attracted the little varmint and drew it into the sanctuary.

The next and most important question is, where is it?

Does it ride along with me when I go skiing at Gunstock or when we visit our sons and grandsons in Connecticut or the South Shore? Or when I go food shopping at the local market? Or does it hop off when the engine is turned on, wait until the car returns and then hop back on again? If so, where does it wait? And if it stays aboard, is it watching us as we drive along? Or is it hunkered down in some secluded place? And where might that be?

I’ve had mice in old cars before. They like to build nests in the housings for the heating/cooling fans. I’ve pulled two dead mice out of these spots in the past — once after a distinct odor permeated the car whenever the heater was turned on and once when I heard a thunk when I turned on the fan. Neither was a job I relished doing, but one does what one has to do.

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