On day 43 of the Nowhere To Be Project I had breakfast at a local restaurant, Northside Kitchen in Avon, Colorado. It is a popular spot in the Vail Valley, particularly with the locals due to the decent food and reasonable prices. My meal was alright, but it was what happened next that has me reeling. As I was calculating the gratuity for my server and signing the check, a mouse dashed through the restaurant and over my feet before holing up underneath a booth. I was so startled by the little critter that I uttered an audible screech. The restaurant was pretty dead at the time and no one really seemed to notice the brouhaha. I sat for a moment pondering my next steps.
I eventually decided to quietly mention it to my server. After catching her attention, I explained (in a whisper) that a mouse had just scampered through the restaurant. I whispered because I didn’t want to shame the establishment or alarm any of my fellow diners. With a knowing and completely unsurprised look she said, “Oh, yeah. Can I offer you a free doughnut for your trouble?” I had noticed the doughnuts when I came in, mostly because they were sitting out uncovered on the front counter. Needless to say, I declined the doughnut and began wondering how many mice friends might be in the vicinity waiting for their free doughnut.
I left feeling conflicted. I mean, mice are nice, but they belong in forests, not in kitchens! I do not want to be the one to report the rodent problem to the health department. Wouldn’t that make me a mouse-killer? At the same time though, the staff at Northside Kitchen clearly know about the issue and yet they continue to operate. Is there a humane way to get rid of rodents? What should I have done? What would you have done???
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