Waiting for the F train today, I was on the most north part of the station reading. After a few moments, I heard a woman shout, “OH SHIT!” I looked up and saw the woman a few feet away, looking to the southbound platform. Another woman next to her said, “Well, at least it’s over there.” I looked too and saw a rat on the platform. It was limping badly. “Looks like it broke its leg,” the second woman said.
"I can’t," said the first woman, shaking her head. "I can’t."
All three of us strangers watched as a man, staring down at his phone and not paying attention, approached the rat, which hobbled as quickly as it could to the opposite side of a support beam to hide.
And my heart broke a little bit, knowing that the rat was just trying to survive and was probably in so much pain and so scared.
Listen: I grew up with rats as pets. Don’t gasp! They were adorable! I named them Chocolate Drop and Caramel. And then the next batch of rats we had were named JC (a.k.a. Jubilee Chocolate, my choice) and Talky-Talk (my brother’s pick). Rats don’t live very long even in captivity. (We’re talking 3 years at max.) Anyway, they were extremely adorable and I loved them a lot. One day I will post a picture and you’ll see how cute! Or maybe you shudder at the idea of it. Either way.
Anyway, rats in the subway don’t bother me. Don’t touch them or anything (because: disease) but it’s not like they’re going to jump up and bite you. Don’t step on their tails! And unlike mice, which invade your apartment and eat your food (which they have done to me personally), rats are content to stay on the streets and out of your homes. Mice are more destructive to your everyday life than rats are even if they are smaller and more obviously cute.
I have strong feelings about rats. Movies like The Secret of NIMH and The Great Mouse Detective slandered their already dodgy reputation. Generations upon generations don’t know that rats can be cute. Poor rats. So misunderstood.
One time there was a girl who moved to Manhattan in the middle of summer. She found a great roommate and a great apartment in a great neighborhood (the East Village) that was on the third floor, but then the next year, the landlord tried to raise her rent. “I’m a good tenant and I pay on time in full every month,” she said. “I do not think you should raise my rent.” The management company agreed so she was able to stay for one more year at the same rate.
"That was close," said the girl. "I might have had to move."
Another year passed and the girl was happy. But then the letter came again, and this time the rent increase was three times what she would have had to pay before. “This is too much money,” she said. “I can’t afford to pay that much extra.” So she looked for a new place and, miraculously, found another great apartment and another great roommate in the same great neighborhood for the same price as she paid at the last apartment. However, it was on the fifth floor of a walk-up building so it was very tiring bringing all of her stuff to the new apartment and there were times when she wouldn’t go downstairs to get simple things because it was so far away and she didn’t have the energy.
She had to move in the dead heat of summer again and she was very, very tired and it was very, very hard to move with all of the extra things she had accumulated over the years. But she thanked her lucky stars and was happy because the new apartment and new roommate were so great.
Less than a year passed. Then a letter came in the mail telling the girl and her roommate that they had to move because they were selling the building! They found a new place, thankfully, but it was, again, in the middle of summer. Not only that but they had to pay a broker’s fee totalling thousands of dollars as well as hundreds of dollars for their movers. And this new place wasn’t in the same neighborhood, it was in the Upper East Side, and it was also on the fifth floor! That is so many floors! It was a total nightmare! She never got her security deposit back! Ever! Then this cycle happened forever and ever and ever and she kept having to move in the summer and it was really terrible!
So it’s hot. You knew this about July. Everybody knows this about July. But July is when the heat can be exhiliarating. It’s about pool parties and BBQs and vacations. July is when summer is fun. Take this mix to the beach with you and thank me later.
Katie Holmes is like that friend you had from college who was always really sheltered who ended up marrying that really controlling guy and you were always like, “Okay, but…” on one side and the other side was like, “As long as she’s happy,” but you knew that she was never really happy because how could she be? And then she stopped talking to you for really long stretches at a time and you never knew how her life was going anymore but in the back of your mind you were always like, “I don’t know how she can stand it.” But then your friend finally got her life together and came to you and was like, “Oh my god, I gotta get out of here, I don’t know how I got here,” and you’re like, “Shhhhh. Shhhh. Katie, it’s okay. It’s okay Katie. C’mere.” And then you guys drank mimosas during a really long, weepy brunch and then you helped her move.
A long time ago in a faraway land called Los Angeles, a coworker once told me, “You are not your job. Too many Americans don’t understand that.” Her name was Sorina. She was Romanian, in that she was from Romania and had…