On the surface things may seem to be unusually quiet here at G.R.I.P.E. HQ. After all, it has been some time since our last update. Outwardly all may appear to be proceeding swimmingly, but for those of us here living inside the eye of the storm I can now report that all is not well. There has been a spate of activity and sadly none of it has brought us any closer to finding a cure for FENS (False Empty Nest Syndrome).
A lot has happened since the last update and most of it, for now, must remain unreported. Perhaps the day will come when all can be told, but perhaps not.
The ending of which I speak is the major event that we refer to as the gerbil’s moving out day. All creatures big and small must make their own way in the universe and it is no different for the modern suburban gerbil. Eventually that day must come.
You might think that “moving out” would seriously alleviate the major symptoms of FENS and perhaps even go a long ways towards a permanent cure. Normally that would be a valid conclusion. But where gerbils are involved one must remain ever vigilant and remember to never underestimate the incredible range of gerbil behaviors.
Perhaps an anecdotal accounting will help illustrate:
After an escalating series of frustrating events involving the gerbil, most of which must remain unreported at this time, the gauntlet was finally thrown down.
The gerbil was kicked out of the nest and given a deadline one week in the future.
The week elapsed with no noticeable change in behavior. We could feel the week was building toward something but if the gerbil felt it too he gave no sign. As far as we could tell absolutely no preparations were made. No packing, no organizing, nothing at all even remotely visible to the naked eye.
Finally the big day arrived. I was overflowing with scientific curiosity. What was about to happen? How would events unfold? Myriads of possible scenarios went through my mind.
I have to admit what happened was unexpected and took me by surprise.
In a stark reversal of the normal pattern, the gerbil woke up early and cooked himself a meal. In another unusual move, the gerbil didn’t immediately leave the home. He simply lounged around the house all day. At lunch the meal cooking was repeated, then again at dinner. It was almost as if the gerbil was trying to pack away as much of our food as he could, perhaps as a going away present to himself, before hitting the road.
After dinner we kept waiting for some movement from the gerbil. We waited an hour. Then another. Then another still. Nothing ever happened. Finally we went to bed.
We didn’t know what the morning might bring. Would the gerbil persist? Would he skulk away under cover of darkness? An odd silence permeated our home as we tucked ourselves in and drifted off to sleep.
To be continued …