My dad reminded me again recently that I haven’t been blogging. I often make the excuse that it’s because there is nothing I feel passionately enough about to blog it. But that’s not true. I have very strong opinions on the jerks that make up our Congress, certain workplace politics and goings-on, and a certain NFL
fumbling running back by the name of David Wilson. But I can’t talk about them here … even my right to free speech may not protect me in that case. I also have happier (but equally passionate) feelings about Christmas and Tom Brady’s handsome face. But no one wants to hear me rave about those things either. But today, I was out running, and I saw something that you can’t un-see. Something so disturbing, on so many levels, that I feel too passionately about NOT to share it with everyone that I know (and even those I don’t).
You may or may not recall our next door neighbors, affectionately dubbed “The Unfriendlies”. I haven’t written about them in quite some time. In the past year, they have become significantly friendlier. I even started feeling guilty about calling them the Unfriendlies. And their garage hasn’t caught on fire again. So that’s good. We think Mr. Once-Unfriendly-Turned-Friendly is training for a triathlon. Instead of filling their garage back up with exotic animals, they just filled it up with bicycles. Or so I thought ….
When their garage caught on fire a couple years ago, there was a news article about it. It turned out that they had some rather exotic pets in their garage that had to be rescued – two alligators, a snapping turtle, and cat. I realize that cats aren’t generally “exotic”, but it must have been a fairly intimidating feline if it could co-exist with those reptiles. Anyway, a heat lamp for these animals was what started the fire.
So, since the garage was repaired I have kind of kept an eye on the ever growing contents of their garage every time the door is open. This isn’t snooping, if you were wondering. It’s called good sense. And being aware of your surroundings. “Unagi”, if you will. I haven’t seen any sign of the former or current pets. Until today.
I was finishing up a run and stopped as I reached our block. I was walking towards our driveway, and their garage door was open. I happened to glance that direction. They weren’t around, but two glass tanks against the back wall of the garage caught my eye. That was new. As I walked up my driveway, I was able to get a better look inside the garage at the tanks. And their contents. And that is when my insides froze. Because one of those tanks holds a big, gigantic, long-tailed RAT.
That’s right, a RAT. And not just your average outdoor rat (I saw one of those once while camping), but a big, fat, healthy indoor rat. And before you get all “rats make lovely pets, why are you so narrow-minded” on me, let me just explain something. I am immensely afraid of fire. So much so that I can barely light a match. And this is only because my high school chemistry teacher forced me to learn to light one. This is why their adjoining garage catching on fire scared me so much. But I have an even larger, and very real, fear of any and all four legged rodents. I would gladly face fire any day if it meant I never had to see or deal with another rodent as long as I lived.
I have enough of a problem with mice. Both places we’ve lived had mice when we moved in, and we had to deal with getting rid of them. We were very successful in doing so, and were therefore able to enjoy several mouse-free years afterward. But those experiences were rather traumatic for me, and I do not wish to repeat them ever again. All those people who say, “They’re more afraid of you than you are of them,” – yeah, they don’t know what they are talking about. I don’t think they can fathom my level of fear. If the common cold doesn’t kill me first, don’t be surprised if I meet my maker by suffering a heart attack from the sight of mouse. I’m always so grateful that I just don’t live in a city with a big rat problem.
In our neighborhood, people’s animals never seem to stay where they should. Cats, dogs, wild children – they all seem to wander freely. So you can see why I might have a teensy weensy problem with our neighbors, who have already proven to not be the most responsible pet owners, keeping a gigantic pet rat in their garage, directly adjoining our garage, which directly adjoins my HOUSE. I don’t even want to imagine it getting out. Except that since I saw it, I can’t STOP imagining it breaking loose and going all Ratzilla on all of us. I have a strong suspicion based on it’s size that it’s either on rat-steroids, or it’s pregnant. Neither one of these scenarios are ideal.
As with every terrifying moment in life, there is a lesson to be learned here. People may change on the surface, but they don’t change on the inside. Even formerly unfriendly turned friendly people. Congress will always be full of jerks who care more about playing power games with each other than doing the right thing. Tom Brady will always be the most handsome player in the NFL (sorry, Colin Kaepernick, nice effort though). David Wilson will always fumble when you need him most. And neighbors with weird pets? Will always be neighbors with weird pets.