I never liked rats. Or vermin of any other kind. Bugs, I could deal with. Spiders I could deal with. But not vermin of the furry kind. This was a constant source of humor for my family, as living in NY, I was more likely than ever to come in contact with mice and rats. But, I had so far been lucky; besides a couple of rats that I had seen on the subway. I had thus far steered clear of the creatures. And, when I finally returned to Portland OR to see my sister, I had no expectations of encountering any rats. Or mice.
Until on the bus ride to my sister’s apartment, she told me that there was a resident mouse living in her bed room. I was obviously horrified, but what could I do, besides grown and bear it. She asked me why it was that I hated the harmless things so much, and I stared at her, and asked why she could possibly be ok with it being there. She said it was absolutely harmless, and the idea of killing it was just too abhorrent. I couldn’t muster a response. But, perhaps it would not be so bad. Maybe, the mouse would just go away, and not bother us. I tried to look on the bright side, and avoid paying attention to the fear bubbling in my stomach.
I had in fact almost forgot the horrors, and nightmares of a mouse consuming me when we finally arrived at her apartment. I was so looking forward to just crashing on her couch and sleeping after the obscenely long ride from the airport, that most thoughts of vermin had exited my brain. So she opened the door, proclaimed “home sweet home,” and then we saw it. At the same time. And then we smelled it. There was a fantastically huge dead rat lying right in the middle of her living room. Right in front of the couch I would be sleeping on.
Fantastic. The look on my face must have been as rock solid as it had ever been. Because when I get mad, my face is expressionless. I avoid emotion. Completely. So, my sister got sufficiently freaked out by the lack of emotion on my face. We put our suitcases down, and began looking around for someone, anyone to help us out. I don’t know how, but we got so lucky and the maintenance man was walking around. When he heard our story, he must have thought that “Oh, these girls are freaking out at a little thing.” Then he saw it. His expression changed in a flash. He looked at us and said, “Oh. I’ll be right back, I need to get something bigger.” That’s right. The size of this rat intimidated the maintenance guy.
This thing was huge. It was bigger than my foot. When he returned, he had on heavy duty gloves and a large plastic wrap type thing. He understandably cracked up as he saw my reaction, of turning to face the wall, to avoid seeing the rat. When he was gone, I starred at my sister. “Shall we go inside?” She asked. I grudgingly stared at her, and followed her inside. “So dinner or clean?” She asked. “Food first, then cleaning supplies shopping. Then complete decontamination.” I couldn’t believe we still had 10 more days together.