I got to my office desk the other morning after trying to simultaneously complete an OU essay and breaking the record of the least amount of hours slept whilst minimal sanity is kept to find that my mouse had made a desperate suicide bid. Presumably despondent after years of my grubby fingering, it has thrown itself off the edge of the desk to achieve some peace and rest in the eternal darkness of the afterlife. Unfortunately my mouse was lacking two essential qualities in order to complete its task; i/ the intelligence that come with sentience, and ii/ wirelessness. I found the poor despondent mouse hanging from its cable from my desktop, swinging in the airless office breeze like a lynched swindler in the old west. I wasn’t sure how best to deal with the situation, and my aching tiredness prevented me from any kind of original thinking. I put the mouse back on the desk, and started the days’ tasks. I figured that a little attention might help, so I scraped off the desktop gunk from its pads with a scissor blade, hoping to re-establish a joy within its life, but for all I know, I could have been torturing him, a waterboarding affront to mouse culture. I had hoped it would be a positive step and we might be able to continue our working relationship as before, but in the back of mind, I thought it might be all over. I quietly spoke to IT from another desktop about arranging a mouse swap with someone, but they seemed to be having some kind of private party or sharing an in-joke, the amount of laughter and call swapping I was subject to before I hung up in dismal failure. I felt bad about looking elsewhere, but goddamn it, I really just wanted the mouse to be happy, or at least not unhappy, but it wasn’t, not anymore. After lunch the mood seemed less heavy and intense, the mouse performed all the activities I asked of it, but it all seemed a bit joyless; just a normal office-worker/mouse relationship. Its little red light still blinked at me when I took it off the desktop surface, but it just seemed like a mechanical reaction after a certain timeframe that had been programmed in by utter strangers years ago to prevent the mouse from trying to read too much information.
I was so tired that I ended up working late that night to try to catch up with what I couldn’t get done during the day. Without the distraction of the rest of the office, I tried to heal whatever was wrong with my mouse, but I just felt heavy handed and ignorant, like I needed some kind of training to fix the problems, but I eventually understood that there’s some problems that don’t need fixing. Or at least problems that can’t be fixed by merely trying to prize the mouse apart with my scissors (how the mouse must hate those scissors) in order try to cleanse the mouse’s innards. I just managed to snap the mouse’s plastic housing, and the scissors jammed their way through circuitry and tiny wires like a manic scythe. The poor thing was now broken; broken beyond the repair of sellotape, blue-tack and office adhesives. IT had shut down hours ago, so I had to leave the mouse’s carcass on the desk and shut my systems down without logging off; a real no-no in the office, but you need the mouse to click on things like ‘Log Off’, and my eviscerated mouse was no longer capable of such things. I slouched home, collapsed into bed and dreamt a light dreamless sleep.
The new mouse is fine, lively and bright and responsive, but I can’t bring myself to think of it as my mouse. My mouse was taken away by tutting IT men. I didn’t want to tell them about the suicide attempt. or that last day, I didn’t think it would want the IT people to think of it that way. It was my pity, my remorse, and my guilt that made me give that mouse one last gift – the gift of a memory untainted by its final, pained few hours.
I can’t get on with the new mouse, I though t at first it was the mouse – too happy, too lively, too quick to answer my beck and call, but then I realised that that is what mouses (mice?) do, what they’re programmed to do, and I realised that it was me. It wasn’t the mouse that was broken, it was me; it was my grubby fingers and my endless ordering that drove my mouse over the desktop, a trip it never really came back from. It was me, and I didn’t suffer from a terrible lack of wirelessness. The desktop was so high above the beige carpet tiles, and the beige carpet tiles seemed so comfortable, like it would swallow me up and I would never hurt again. It seemed like the only option left.
The x-ray revealed a slightly sprained ankle and work very kindly gave me a few days off to catch up with my sleep. They could probably do with out me in that state, and it also kept me away from the office gossip about why I had suddenly screamed and jumped off a two-and-a-half-foot high desk, or at least gave it some time to turn to the size of VAT John’s nipples, which could be easily seen through his gossamer thin white shirt. I slept heavily for the first few days, and started to feel much better, like I’d put the whole dark passage behind me. So I started to catch up on e-mails on my home laptop. My home laptop with its curiously reticent mouse pad…