Monday, January 12, 2015

Muses as Rats. Or Rats as Muses?

I like rats. Never used to. Where I used to lived in BC, we used to have a problem with rats getting into the garage. I never figured out how they did it. I blocked every hole, every crack I could find, yet as soon as the temperature dropped, there they were, shredding my recyclables.

I'd never see them, of course. The little bastards were masters at remaining hidden, the only clues being their little jellybean shits and mysterious piles of confetti.

I hated them. I'd lay out rat poison, gleefully rubbing my hand together at the thought of their little rodent bodies desiccating from the inside out. Mummified rat carcasses. Oh, how I loved it when I found those things.

But then my daughters discovered hamsters. The people at the pet stores kept saying if you want a nice little pet, get a rat. They're robust, intelligent, and they like to play no matter if it's night or day. Naturally we ignored them. (What the hell do they know? They work in a pet store.)

Hamsters, it turns out, are boring. They're also grumpy and dumb. I don't know how many times I've seen my daughters hamsters walk off the side of the bed because they didn't have enough sense to stop.

As time passed, I became intrigued at the idea of having a rat as a pet. I didn't tell anyone; I was the one who daydreamed about smashing them with a shovel, after all. But I slowly warmed to them, going out of my way to observe them in their little cages at the pet store. The little fellas played together, unlike hamsters who have to be kept apart lest they bite each other's faces.

Finally I decided I'd get one. Or should I say three. (my daughters had to have one, too. Parents will understand) So now I have three pet rats hanging out with me in the office. They're affectionate little guys. They love attention, and amazingly enough, don't pee on you when you're handling them. And they adore each other. They have a little hammock hanging from the top of their cage, and all three sleep in it...together. You wouldn't think there was enough room, but somehow they make it work. Darn rodents.

The only thing I'm not keen on is their tails. But I am getting used to them. Slowly.