Many years ago I was rushing from a friend’s Hartford apartment to the car on a cold winter night. I tripped a little, and assumed I’d hit a bump in the sidewalk with the toe of my shoe. But my friend, who was walking behind me, yelled, “Oh my God. A rat!” Yes, dear readers, a rat had run between my feet as I was jogging to the car, and I’d unwittingly kicked the little guy. At this point I screeched, broke out into a full out run, and started scratching at the car door! I had to get out of there, and go home and shower for hours.
Then I spent years in New York City where rats are like furtive little squirrels. You see them hanging out on the train tracks, and they scare the bejesus out of you when you’re sitting in the park and you see one scurry into a tree grate out of the corner of your eye. This is all to say, I thought I was used to rats.
This summer proved me wrong. I was digging around in a friend’s West End basement looking for painting supplies. Just as she finished saying the words, “My neighbor says there’s been a rat down here…” we heard the tell tale squeak of a frightened rat. I turned on a dime and sprang up the basement stairs, and then up another flight of stairs to her apartment. Somewhere in there I hit my hand on something and scratched it all to hell. It’s a miracle I’m not dead. (more…)