I got lazy last week.
It was the middle of July and things in Seward got a little hectic. The weather was warm, the town was abuzz and I just didn’t want to clean my home. Instead I wanted to walk along trails, ride my bike to glaciers or just lay out in the sun in anticipation of the imminent rain.
So, I got lazy and did all of those things instead of doing my dishes. They piled up, bowls with lines showing where yogurt once was, a cast iron pan with a little bit of oil residue, a plate with just enough egg crust to be deemed dirty and several coffee cups. They formed a mountain in my tiny double sink next to an equally overflowing trash can, all inside my camper in the woods outside Seward.
Without running water, dishes are more of an adventure than a household chore. Sometimes I bring them down to the river for a quick rinse. Sometimes I drive them into town for a thorough scrub. Last week, I just let them fester.
In the past, my laziness would go unnoticed. Living alone, the only one impacted by my mess is me. This time, though, I was not alone.
The scuttering woke me late in the night. The first night, I convinced myself it was coming from outside and that I had nothing to worry about. The second night, I started accepting that maybe, just maybe, there was something living in my camper alongside me. The third night, when I woke up to a mouse on my chest, I couldn’t ignore the problem a minute longer.
I flew out of my bed, out the front door and slept in my car (where the mice couldn’t get to me) and started planning my attack. Now, there are traps spread across my camper floor, strategically placed in each nook and cranny. More importantly, the entire place is spotless. I scrubbed and swept and vacuumed and mopped and washed. Anything resembling food is packed and double packed in a cabinet and there’s not a single crumb to be found.
I haven’t heard from my houseguest since, but I don’t think I’m out of the woods yet. I’m sure if I get lazy again, I’ll find myself making dinner for two (or three or four or five or, please no, six).
I’m lucky that my laziness didn’t manifest itself in a more dangerous way. Had my dishes been left outside, my small mouse problem could have turned into a large bear problem.
Recently, campgrounds nearby Skilak Lake have been closed due to black bears scuttering too close to tents and scratching unsuspecting campers. They don’t think the camper did anything wrong to attract the bears, but if I had been in that tent during one of my lazy weeks the scutters and scratch could have been much worse (sometimes I like to put honey in my yogurt)!
I’m lucky that my laziness was confined to my camper walls. If you cut corners out in the wilderness or in nature, the smallest of oversights can exacerbate the most common of situations.
If you’re lazy on a long, rainy hike your sleeping bag will stay wet and you’ll stay cold.
If you’re lazy while enjoying an off-grid hike, you’re family will worry (especially if the one day hike is so great it turns into a two or three).
If you’re lazy while fishing, a hook may end up where it’s not supposed to.
If you’re lazy while on an adventure, you can end up getting hurt.
My little house guest taught me a great lesson in the gentlest way possible. By shaking me awake in the middle of the night, the mouse gave me a small understanding of how laziness can lead to disaster. And yes, I am classifying our late night dalliance as a disaster because even though I learned a lot from the little mouse, he’s definitely not invited back into my home.
Kat Sorensen is a writer living in Seward. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org