15 Apr 2009

Cleo & the mouse

Posted by Teapots Happen

September 2003

After I started being open to the idea that some coincidences might not be mere statistical flukes, and could be worth examining as potentially significant – or if nothing else, interesting – I wracked my terribly faulty memory to see if I could remember any such weirdness happening in my past.

The first thing I remembered was a relatively recent story, from September of 2003.

A mouse or three had recently come to live in my house, fleeing from the fall’s failing warmth – they’d been boldly scampering around my house, raiding my pantry, pooping on everything, and deftly avoiding the traps I put out as a result of said raiding and pooping (the scampering alone was kind of cute).

One night my friend Jacque and I were hanging out in my living room, surfing the couch through spacetime together. The topic of the mice came up – we might have seen one dart past, I don’t recall , but for whatever reason,  I turned to my dog and said,

“Cleo, if you don’t start catching mice, I’m going to trade you in for a cat.”

About five minutes later, I noticed that Cleo was lying on the floor,  perfectly still, with her paws stretched out before her, her head down between them, her eyes on mine.

A dead mouse was lying on the carpet between her paws.

(not taken during the mouse incident)

Cleo in the living room

Jacque and I both just about died laughing, but I didn’t consider it to be evidence of canine English comprehension or synchronicity – I just wrote it off as a statistical aberration. (This was years before the teapots, and I was deeply in a reductionist materialist paradigm.)

True, she’d never caught a mouse before  (or since). But I figured maybe it had fallen in her water bowl  and drowned – then she’d discovered the corpse and brought it in for us to witness – and it was no coincidence that this happened around the same time that we were talking about mice –  both of these events would be correlated with rodent invasion;  only because they happened to occur within moments of one another did they seem remarkable at all.

Now, today, “post-teapots’  …well,  I guess I still probably give that explanation the most weight, since it did not happen to me in any kind of meaningful context – however, catch me in the right mindset and I’ll probably be quite willing to consider the possibility that my dog – perhaps by some nonlingual telepathic connection, was in fact responding to me.

Or that I somehow knew she was about to bring a dead mouse into the room.

Or that she was merely an unknowing pawn or a piece in some unknown connective force’s web of mysterious effects …

…  I guess when you realize that can’t really rule out these kinds of scenarios, yes, you do lose the sweet, unwavering certainty of the strong skeptic or the staunch believer – but you gain a certain richness of perspective, in which an infinite number of  options dance on and on, uncollapsing, never observable and therefore never actualized, never becoming exclusively true.

Which is rather pleasant, in my opinion – as well as more rationally defensible than any given hubris-drenched claim to certainty …


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