This is a story that Julie should be telling for the simple fact that for the larger part of the actual event she was actually awake, while I was not. However, at a very crucial moment at the peak of the story, I laid claim to the rights to blog it, the justification of which shall become abundantly clear soon...
This story must begin with the explanation that I sleep well. When I say that I sleep well, I mean I go to sleep quickly, and I sleep deeply, blissfully unaware of anything going on around me. It is a useful skill or gift or whatever you want to call it, and it has provided many friends with hours of entertainment when they felt the need to stay up all night at slumber parties. On night two of the Yosemite extravaganza, however, I think Julie was less than amused.
We'd hiked a good seven, eight miles (ask us next week, it'll be a good ten miles that we hiked that day) on Saturday, and I was seriously tired. Julie's school pal Jim, his wife Karen, and their bouldering pal Adrian came over to our cabin to visit and to use our civilized toilet after we all feasted at the lodge that evening. Upon my return to the cabin, I dashed to the grocery store to get some chocolate to nibble on that evening, and returned with a package of Pepperidge Farm cookies and two cups of coffee to help the two of us stay awake while we visited. I shared the cookies with the group, and after they left, closed the package up tight and left it on the desk in the room. On the desk immediately in front of the cookies was a plastic grocery bag full of a variety of granola bars that Julie brought along for us to eat on our a 15-mile-per-day hikes. There are signs all over the park alerting people to the presence of bears and their fondness for people food. Even the cabins have bear lockers in which you can store food. But I, being the experienced outdoors person, thought, "Bears, schmears. They can't open doors. How would they get in here to get our granola bars and cookies?" Julie, however, was less certain. She worried about us leaving food in the cabin. Before we left for Yosemite she had her car detailed to get every last crumb out of it so as not attract them and encourage them to break the windows or anything. She takes the bears and warnings seriously. I, however, like to live dangerously.
Julie, who regularly goes to bed at 7:00 p.m. and gets up at 3:00 a.m., was the first to go to sleep the night before, practically falling asleep in the middle of a great story I was telling about something. On Saturday night, the situation was reversed. I couldn't keep my eyes open, so I laid down shortly after the guests left, while Julie read about the next day's 20-mile hike. I vaguely remember her turning off the light, but little else.
I was out quick and into a deep sleep until Julie awakened me sometime a bit later. "Linda, wake up," she said. "There's something in the plastic bag on the desk. I saw its beaty little eyes. I think it's a mouse, and you're going to have to take care of it." She was sitting on her bed, frozen, eyes fixed on the desk, the light beside her turned on. I glanced over at the desk, and saw nothing. I watched for a few moments and still, nothing. "There's a mouse. I swear it. He was in the bag of granola bars. It's your cookies that led him in here." I failed to catch the faulty logic of my cookies being what attracted him while he was actually enjoying the granola bars, but it wouldn't be the last time I encountered such logic.
From the tone of her voice, I knew it wouldn't help to just tell her to go back to sleep and forget about it, so I walked over to the desk to investigate. I carefully peered around the stacks of clothes and other things piled on the desk. I couldn't see a thing. I wouldn't have admited it from my heroic position as mouse hunter, but I was secretly concerned that the little thing might just jump out at me while I looked for him and that my own fear would be revealed. So, I lightly picked up one piece of Julie's clothing at a time, carefully shaking it or shifting it on the desk to see if I could expose the critter.
Nothing. I didn't see a thing and began to assume there was no such critter, that her vivid imagination had just gone wild or something, but her insistence continued. Convinced that the critter was well hidden and sufficiently intimidated by my hulking presence and obvious hunting skill, I went back to bed. I'd barely gotten my eyes closed when Julie asked, "Do you hear that?" I didn't. "It's back," she said.
I got up again, and looked quickly toward the desk. Indeed a little brown mouse appeared from the piles of clothes on the desk. As I walked toward him, prepared to bravely catch him and return him to the outdoors, he jumped to the floor and raced under the closet door and the chase ensued. I opened the door and madly started searching around my suitcase and dirty clothes on the floor. I couldn't find him anywhere. Convinced he must have gotten out of the closet, I turned around and started looking under the beds, and in the trash can, hoping he'd found the empty beer bottles and was drinking himself into a drunken stupor. I looked behind the curtains, and while I laughed about the situation, Julie nervously sat on her bed and prayed I'd find him. It was at this point that I laid claim to my rights to the story saying, "I'm totally blogging this."
He was nowhere to be found. Nowhere. I really didn't care. It doesn't bother me to share space with the critters, but Julie seemed much more concerned. I searched as long as I could and finally gave up. We put the granola bars and cookies in a desk drawer, and I went back to bed. In a bit I was fast asleep again. Julie laid awake for awhile, the light still on, and apparently slept very little the whole night. At some point during the night, the wind picked up and there was a srcatching noise on the roof of the cabin, the tree branches scraping it as they swayed in the wind.
Julie, however, was convinced it was a bear and started worrying about bears, because, you know, if a mouse could get in the cabin, a bear most certainly could too!
On the drive home, after our 42-mile hike through Mariposa Grove, I reached into the bag to retrieve a cookie for Julie. When I looked in, this is what I saw....