[I’m not still in Boston, btw. As discussed here]
I have mentioned on this site before that I didnt really used to believe in rats. Although I did believe in rabbits. And it was something that I used to say for several reasons.
- a) Because I had seen rabbits but never a rat so couldnt be sure. And
- b) Because its the kind of thing that really annoys people. Because they say But dont be ridiculous, rats exist
and you say Yes, well, you say that, but in order to believe you, I would have to take a leap of faith that I consider ridiculous. I have never seen a rat.
And they say But rats exist
and you say Yeah, whatever; what that? Thats a picture of a rat? Brilliant. Here is a picture of a unicorn. Do you happen to have a picture of a Wazzakkadunk, by any chance?
And they say What is one of those?
And I say It is something I just made up, look, here, I have just drawn a picture of it, so it must exist. It is a kind of nose with four eyes and some legs and a willy.
Anyway, after I wrote that post – not that long after, as it happens – I saw something that was probably a rat while on a work trip in India.
It equally might not have been a rat, but was the same vague shape as a lot of the photos I had seen, and moved very fast and in a determined and bad-tempered manner, which I understood to be quite like them, so assumed it to be a rat. No one else could corroborate the sighting or identify it, though, so it wasnt an official verification. Still, mostly like it it was one of them mythical rats.
As my old grandma used to say If it looks like a television and smells like a television, dont be surprised when, if you try and feed it bacon, you just end up with a really baconny television . – actually she didnt used to say that. That I know of. But if she had, she would have had a very good point, and her point still stands. It was probably a rat.
The one in Boston, however, was definitely a rat.
I know because, as we were walking along a really beautiful and sunny street in the Back Bay area of Boston, tall houses made of large brown stone, expensive looking, dignified, old, plush, we were walking along feeling happy and pleased with ourselves on our happyhappyjoyjoy-holiday section of our tine in town (possibly more accurately classified as our happyhappyjoyjoy-five-hours between filing work and going to the airport for the plane home)(yes, yes. Stop with the sarcastic sympathy and put the invisible violin down or you wont be able to hear the rest of the story). Where was I?
Ah yes. As we were walking along in a happy-go-lucky manner along the – ahem – sidewalk of this well-to-do street, feeling reasonably happy and skippy, and I noticed that there was some kind of happy-go-lucky little critter running through the gardens next to us; so I looked over at the garden, and there it was. Quite the least malevolent looking animal I had ever seen, this brown thing, tripping merrily through the well-tended petunias.
I say, My Beloved. I said, because we are English and that is how we talk. I say? Is that some friendly woodland turned urban North American creature, somewhat akin to a squirrel, or chipmonk?
Yeah he said – for though he is English he is also uncouth. Kind of like that. Not quite, but kind of like that: in that it is a rat.
Well, Im quite phobic of things-like-rats-but-smaller, as anyone who has read those particularly high-pitched parts of the archive might know. And believe me, if this feller had been having a scuttle underneath my fridge – and no, thats not a euphemism in any way, shape or form, before you think it – I would have been pretty phobic of him too.
But it was harder to be phobic about something that was just skipping along so very happily.
He kept up with us for a good five or six or ten houses, and then disappeared underneath some steps. Merrily.
And that was it. I saw I rat. A real live one.
Interestingly, or not, its one of the stories Ive told the most since I got back.
Mainly because My Beloved keeps introducing it with the words HEY! Tell them about that rat you saw!!!
So, you know, its not just me whos easily pleased.