Thursday, April 03, 2008


I'm fond of sitting on my front balcony at night, taking in the cool night air, listening to the sounds of the neighborhood... and watching the rats go by on the wires.

Well... rat. Singular. I think. I think it's the same rat that keeps going back and forth on our particular little stretch of elevated-rat-highway.

It scurries in from the right, then pauses at the pole across the street. Against the wood, it's invisible. It waits a minute or two, then scurries rapidly across to the left, disappearing again as the wires get lost in the oak tree at the corner.

A while later, it comes back, scurrying from left to right, again pausing at the pole, and finally racing into the darkness down the street.

What's it doing? What's its rat-ionale? Help! Is there a rat-ologist* in the house?

* What are rat-ologists really called? There must be a word. (And given how much I seem to talk about rats,[1] [2] [3] [4] maybe I should become a that-which-is-not-actually-called-a-rat-ologist.)


  1. You might want to read Robert Sullivan's best-selling book about rats entitled...well..."Rats". Sullivan spent a year observing rats in a lower Manhattan alley. Among some of the neat facts about rats in there: John James Audubon spent some of the later years of his life living in New York City and hunting rats.

  2. Oh, I think I heard an interview with him once. It sounded fascinating.