Piece of Mind: A mind and a mouse need freedom to roam

The subject line of an email I received at the office Monday gave me pause: “Now that we're in the middle of summer…”

What? Didn't we just start summer? I'm not ready to say that my favorite season is down for the count.

The easy pace around town on a warm July day suits me fine. Dawdling and daydreaming are two skills I particularly excel at. In fact, if they'd offered a GATE program tailored especially for goofs back in the day some of my friends and I were working our way through La Cañada Unified, we'd have vied to be at the head of every class.

Slow and easy, that's the ticket. Don't rush life. Take in the smell of the lighter fluid on a balmy evening and revel in the soft whine of pool equipment as it filters through the floating June bugs. Read a book by the light of the back porch lamp while trying not to notice the skunk moving through the bushes under the kitchen window. Such activities please me greatly.

Spring fever may affect young lovers, but summer is my siren. It gives me permission not to succumb to the pressure to get anything in particular accomplished.

Perhaps this explains why I am sitting in my workplace office alone, on the Fourth of July, hammering out a column to fill my space in Thursday's paper. Oh, sure, I could have written this earlier in the week, during regular office hours, but nooooooooo, I found other things to amuse me then.

So, while others are presumably at play today, I'm pushing a non-negotiable deadline. But still I allow myself to be distracted. I decide to take a break to hunt for the elusive Larrie, a mouse that is said to call our newspaper office home.

It was last fall when my colleague, Bill, told me that he'd seen a mouse dashing in and out of our storage room. Bill suspected the tiny rodent of making raids on lunch leftovers easily found around desks here. Sometime in late December someone procured what everyone assures me is a humane mouse trap and installed it where it seemed that Larrie was most active.

I wanted no involvement in the scheme; it seemed to me we could reasonably accommodate a minuscule, breathing dust ball who asked for nothing more than crumbs. And, I'd only seen Larrie once, when he paused near the doorway to my office, then, apparently thinking better of that adventure, turned on his little heels and high-tailed it back toward the storeroom. It seemed to me he was no bother at all.

Larrie is apparently too wise to venture into a mousetrap. Some months ago the idea of catching him was abandoned and the trap disappeared from view. In fact, no one mentioned him anymore and I haven't seen him since that one encounter. I inquired about him earlier this week and learned Bill had spotted him very recently and was planning to buy fresh cheese and set the trap again.

I was a little aghast that on the very eve of Independence Day there was talk of entrapping our tiny office mate. It was time to start my “Free Larrie” campaign in earnest. I thought that maybe this morning, when no one else is here, I could track him down and encourage him to go out the back door, no rent demanded for the months he's called this place home and no questions asked about missing food items.

Alas, there's no sign of my little friend. And it appears I'm now four minutes past my deadline to file. Where do these summer days go?

CAROL CORMACI is the managing editor. Email her at carol.cormaci@latimes.com.

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