Last weekend, I was sitting a stop light on one of those famous Texas highways. One of the things my friends and family back on the east coast don’t quite realize is that Texas humongous. You could drive for hours and hours and still be in Texas. So, when I get a call asking me about some tornado in Lubbock, it’s all I can do not to scream out “I live sooooooooooo far away from Lubbock, man!!”
But back to the highways. They’re massive. But they also go through these little towns, so sometimes you’re on a three lane highway with a speed limit of 70, and you still have to stop at traffic lights.
Which is what I was doing that day when I saw a little mouse trying to cross from one side of the highway to the other. It was such a striking sight–this tiny little creature booking it across six lanes of highway. I couldn’t help but think about what was motivating it. Maybe he had lived on one side of the highway all its life. Maybe he dreamed of getting out of Left Side of the Highway and making a new life on Right Side of the Highway.
Maybe the last time he saw his father, he was making his way over to the Right Side, promising to come back when he knew it was safe…but the little field mouse never saw his father again. Maybe he stared out from his side of the highway every night and wondered if he’d ever have the guts or the speed to get over to the other side.
This mouse was booking it, too. I would say he was tapping into his inner Usain Bolt but Usain makes being the fastest man in the world look easy. This mouse was huffing and puffing like the 17th fastest man in the world, fighting to make it in the qualifiers.
Watching the mouse race against the clock–the light would be turning green pretty soon–I was suddenly overwhelmed with solidarity for this little guy. I wanted him to win. “Go. Go. Go,” I started to chant to myself under my breath.
Then I got louder as he crossed in front of the incoming traffic in the first three lanes and made it to the median. As he started to cross the second set of three lanes, I got really excited. “Yes! Yes! You can do it! YEAH MOTHERFUCKER! RUN! YEAH! YOU GOT THIS! YEAH!!”
I exploded in a cheer complete with a flurry of fist pumps as the little mouse dove into the bushes on the other side. He had made it. I was proud of him. I hoped all his dreams would come true on the Right Side of the Highway.
And then I noticed that the people in the cars on either side of me were staring at me. I’d forgotten that my windows were down. They’d heard me rooting on the mouse and apparently that made me a weirdo.
I shrugged it off. “Y’all didn’t see that mouse, huh?”