Monday, August 16, 2010

A Rat's Tale

I feel a strong urge to interrupt my blogging about my co-creative children’s choir to write about a particular visitor I had: a rat. Yes, you read that correctly. Not a mouse, but a rat. Not a huge rat, but nevertheless still a rat! (A rat is a rat is a rat!)

A rat with no cat! That is, no cat in the house. One of my roommates took her beloved pet to visit with his brother so the house is sans a cat.

I did briefly borrow a friend of mine, a neighbour’s cat that I hoped would visit me today. I invited him inside and coaxed him to the kitchen. He jumped on the counter. I scooped him up and placed him on the floor. He jumped up again. I put him back down again. Then he jumped up again.

Ok, I think I just need to let him do his thing. So this time I left him there to see what he would do. He sniffed – and I could tell he smelled something - in one corner in particular, the corner by the fridge. He wanted to jump on the fridge but there was something on top so I didn’t allow him. He then proceeded to lie, more like sprawl, on the counter which was rather amusing actually (I have to admit), but I brought him down to the floor with his nose towards the bottom of the dishwasher where I saw a rat last disappear.

I didn’t want to kill the rat, just have him disappear into the night so I opened the sliding door at the back (hoping he would do just that).

In the meantime, a friend came by to visit me and help me download my ‘emotive’ photos (taken by Roberto-Michael Kaplan last weekend). Since neither of our computers cooperated, we went to buy my first USB Flash Drive gadget at London Drugs down the ‘hill’ (mountain). So when we returned to the office upstairs, where I had purposely lit the stairs and hallway (thinking that rats only liked or preferred the dark), I was surprised that the rat came by for a visit shortly thereafter!

My friend saw the rat first and we spent a good 10 minutes at least, perhaps 15, chasing it. I closed the office door where we were. I had gotten hold of a broom and dustpan in the meantime hoping to capture it. My plan was to hold the rat with the broom pressing it down against the dustpan and fling the rat on the dustpan outside the open window. Not a pretty picture perhaps but I was hoping it could escape alive.

Did you notice that life doesn’t always go according to plan? Life (just) doesn’t work that way. It often (or always?) throws us a curveball or for a loop, seemingly to see how we’ll respond.

At one point we ‘lost’ sight of it. My friend wanted to give up but I was adamant about finding and capturing it, especially since we had it somewhat cornered in this small office space. My friend thought it had possibly gone out the window. I felt that wasn’t the case so we looked some more, found it, and chased it again. My friend ended up clobbering it with the handle end of the broom. We were going to go about cleaning it up - no blood thank goodness - when it had moved a bit. Oh dear! You can perhaps imagine my frantic state.

Now let me just interject and say I wasn’t scared of this particular rat per se. What scares me most is (their) quick movements that easily startle me, especially when unexpected. I’m also afraid the rat might touch me, like bounce off me (as laughable as that may seem to you!). However, my main concern was more about the computer cables and the TV cable wire, the latter which had already been chewed upon by this rat underneath my bed – yes, my bed - a few nights ago.

I didn’t sleep much Thursday night when I first discovered this rat in the house. The next morning about 1 am, I awoke suddenly. I think I woke up because I heard some noises coming from somewhere near my bed.

I literally froze, with fear. My heartbeat accelerated after a few minutes and I thought it was going to burst, that I was going to explode. I was so aware of my body: my breathing, which quickened, my skin which started to sweat, and the words ‘galvanized response’ – of all words, as in ‘galvanized skin response’ – came to me.

I actually wondered, believe it or not, if this rat could smell my fear. Could it hear and/or feel my breath, see my chest rising and falling rapidly, sense or feel the heat from my skin as my body temperature was rising? And it was already a warm night. I was too scared to open my eyes.

I swear I was frozen with fear for at least 15 or 20 minutes, it may have been 10, but it could have been half an hour. I had no idea. All I know is that time seemed painstakingly slow in those moments. I started concentrating on relaxing, slowing my breathing down. After what seemed like a long, long time, I finally got enough courage to hit my touch lamp with my right hand, my arm extended. I turned my head when doing so. I didn’t see anything, hear anything and especially not on my bed, thank goodness. Sigh.

I believe (I was too traumatized to remember I swear it) that I kept my touch lamp on the lowest level and put my eye pillow on to block out the light. I did not want the rat to go on my bed! It took me quite some time to fall asleep let me tell you.

Now, I had been ‘tested’ by the universe before after having undergone Enlightened Warrior Training Camp (a three- to five-day bootcamp-like venture). My beloved adopted cat at the time left me an unusual gift. The gift of a rat underneath my bed. Sound familiar?

As soon as I got home, I smelled it. I have an acute sense of smell.) I thought it was a dead mouse as I got accustomed to that smell with our pet (cat) mouser. So you can imagine my surprise when I discovered it was a dead rat and a HUGE one at that! Man, was I freaked out or what!

Initially I may have screamed. I can’t recall. Though I may not have because I knew immediately when I saw it, that it was a test for me. You know, the curveball in life? It was testing to see what wisdom I had acquired from the training camp where I got tested on all levels: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

I knew that in order to handle this situation, I needed to do and change something. So I changed my perspective, my point of view. Instead of thinking about and feeling sorry for myself, I focused on the rat. I started feeling compassion (yes compassion) for this creature. I felt sorry for it. Sorry that it probably suffered fear and/or a final blow from ... my cat?

I knew I needed to clean it up right away as it had been there for more than a day, possibly two or even three. My roommate wasn’t sure. However, if memory serves me, I believe there may have been worms on it too and dried blood. No matter, the case remained the same. I had to deal with this dead rat and pronto!

Thus, this rat that I saw recently (interestingly enough with my same friend in the same room at about the same time of night last Thursday) was small in comparison, much smaller. But I was still scared. I mean this rat was alive! Again, it was the sudden movements and possibility of it landing on any of my exposed flesh that scared me. And I was only wearing shorts and a tank top, being a hot summer night.

My friend was the perfect person to assist me. Though I asked for his help, I knew this, as he is somewhat bland in his emotional expression. I truly appreciated his gift of being so at the time as I felt I couldn’t nor wanted to do this alone. I didn’t really want to kill the rat, even asking God for forgiveness in the process of this deadly task.

This rat came into my life, but why? Why and why now? I may want or need to reflect upon this, as I really don’t want this to happen again! However, I believe it came through an open sliding door and just happened to get stuck inside!

My card for the day was ‘spiritual growth’ so I believe there is a lesson for me somewhere. Last week my angel card was ‘patience’ and this week it was ‘adventure!’ Even though it wasn’t a traditional adventure as we might associate with this word, I would say that it describes this rat experience well. After all, the angel cards never lie. They are always so amazingly perfect, right on the mark.

It was a perfect fit. Being alone in this big house with a rat...and without a cat at that! Hmmm, that might make for a good story line or a poem or a song. I might work on that, create a poem, song, and/or story about it. That is one thing I like to do, take everyday ideas as my inspiration to create pieces of poetry or snippets of a song or story.

Oh, and since the initial draft of this last night, there was a new visitor in the house this morning. This one came in the form of a big spider in my bathtub this morning. Okay, what is (are) the lesson(s) that I need to take or learn from this? I want to move onto the next lesson with no more creatures, especially in the house!


  1. P.S. I swear I just got what could be 'the lesson' about my rat experience about 15 minutes after I posted this tale. More about that - and in relation to eyesight - in a future posting! ; )

  2. Your story is real, sweet, dramatic and well written. You had my full attention as if I was right there with you, even the smells, Elly!

    1. Oh dear! I somehow missed your comment Roberto: my sincere apologies. I had a lot of fun writing this post, though of course the real life experience was another story, pardon the pun! ;)

  3. Great Blog/story.....really enjoyed it!!! Keep it up.

  4. Some other comments beside Lori-Ann's above that I received that I copied and pasted directly from the emails I received on this article:

    You write well!!! I would not want a rat in my bedroom either!!! I could not enjoy the Disney movie ``Ratatouille`thinking of how I would not want a rat cooking my food!!!

    I used to tease my friend at work about making ratatouille out of the rats she was trying to catch in her garden.

    Cheers, Heather

    Great story and life experience Elly!
    Take care,

    I, Elly, say 'Thank you for all your comments! I appreciate your feedback and support!' : )

  5. I thought of visiting your older posts and my decision was Apt.

    It was dramatic and hilarious/ Funny. I actually wanted to count the number of words you've written on this Famous RAT.

    Cool Elly! Loved each and every word of it. No wonder you've got so many awards.

    1. Thanks for visiting here Ajay. :) Though the incident was definitely not funny, I felt the story warranted such a tone. It seems you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed sharing it. And yes, I did have a number of initial lengthier posts; I don't think I knew about word count in terms of blogs back then! ;) <3

  6. Replies
    1. Thanks and yes, an interesting tale of a tail! ;) <3

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