Thursday, August 30, 2007

OK, I'm awake now

(This is Mary.)

So this morning, the commute seems pretty easy. I ride the bus into the city, then take my time walking to the subway. While I sit, I continue to read Hamlet (it's been awhile, and thought I should reacquaint myself with the prince).

We arrive at my stop--110th Street--and a woman next to me jumps out of her seat, clearly in a hurry to get off the train (I think she might have been a Columbia student). She rushes out of the train car, and I hear the loudest shriek I can remember hearing for a long time. I look down at the ground, and right in the pathway between the subway and the exit turnstile is a dead rat.

Fortunately dead, I suppose. But nevertheless, not something you'd want to step on (the woman was wearing flip flops, too).

When I say rat, I do mean rat, not mouse. I'm not good at judging size, but they're hefty.

We see rats fairly frequently in the subway--running across the tracks, hanging out on the platform (but usually only at the fringes), and bolting into their cubby holes. Frankly, it's only disconcerting to me when I see a group of them. Somehow, one at a time seems less frightening--almost as if it's the same one I keep seeing over and over. (Do you like how I lie to myself?)

But when there's a group, there's a sense of an entire community of rats that, in some way, may mimic what I see every day above ground. The rat race--now I know why it has that name!

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