An Acrobatic RAT!
|This isn't the real acrobatic rat, mine is much bigger|
Exhaustion had finally creped upon me, urging me to go to sleep early for just one night. I couldn’t fight it anymore and decided to get ready for bed. There I was brushing my teeth in the bathroom mirror thinking about how tired I was when I felt something touch my foot. “Oh great, not another ghost incident,” was my immediate thought. I looked down expecting to see nothing since ghosts are usually invisiable, but to my surprise I saw a huge, brown, matted ball. I had to strain my eyes a few seconds before it moved and I realized it was a wild, rabies looking rat. This rat was so fat it could have been pregnant with octuplets. However, I feel that it has male energy so maybe it’s just obese. It had a long nasty tail, a fierce triangle noise, and I discovered it was a special type of rat: an acrobatic rat.
|This looks like an acrobatic rat|
In the kitchen, I stood there shaking and my heart was pounding. I was hoping that one of my neighbors would have heard me screaming and would soon come to rescue me. Unfortunately, no one heard me. I started to laugh at myself because I thought that if they did come, I would look like a “toothpaste vampire” panting with toothpaste dribbling down my mouth and off my chin.
Finally, I had calmed down and was thinking, “How in the world was I going to go back in the bathroom with a jumping rat in there?” Then just when I started to talk myself into believing that it was a cute little mouse that was terribly scared of me, the dang fat rat ran into the kitchen, had one look at me and we started round two dancing. After a minute of further jumping and screaming, he ran into the corner near the door. Now I sat perched up on the cement counter pleading with the rat to go away. I begged, “Please go away, plleeeaaassssee…”
Either he understands English or hates my whining because he started to inch his way out of the kitchen and paused in the hallway looking at which way was his best option. I yelled, “Nooo, not the living room,” which leads to my bedroom and there was no way I wanted to share my room with the world’s only Olympic rat. I yelled, “Go right, in the empty spare bedroom, you can have it, I will never go in there again, please take it, just don’t go in my bedroom, oh pretty please with cheese on top.”
I swear to you, this rat looked back at me with a devilish grin and ran straight into the living room under the door curtain so that I had no idea where he made his way to, such as my bedroom. I sank with a heavy sigh knowing that he probably ran into my room and that we would be dancing all night. I went back into the bathroom with a broom just incase he wanted to come back for round three and I could use the broom to shew him off. I looked at myself in the mirror and sure enough my face was covered in minty toothpaste including strands of my hair that were now glued to my face with toothpaste. Then I angrily found my toothbrush in the squatter toilet. I had no energy to hunt down a rat.
All the way to my bedroom, I loudly tapped the broom on the ground in hopes that he would hear me coming and find a place to hide to end the square dancing. With my protection broom I looked under my bed from across the room, hoping that I could shew him out, shut my door and sleep in peace. However, he was nowhere in sight. Of course I wasn’t brave enough to look behind the dresser. I climbed into bed wondering if he would do his acrobatic jump onto my pillow to kiss me goodnight, I mean nibble my face off.
|Such a long tail & triangle nose|
Revengeful Bhutanese Rats!
First, they all told me to leave it alone. It was no big deal! They explained that if I was mean to the rat, I would make it angry and that’s where my problems would begin. What problems? They warned me that rats have feelings just like humans, so if they get mad at you, they might come back with their friends when you’re not home to destroy your possessions. They will eat your favorite clothes, ruin your electronic cords, put holes in your rugs, poop everywhere, and so on. Revengeful Bhutanese Rats! I’ve never heard of rats doing “pay backs” on people. I started to worry if I pissed off the rat by screaming in its face. I wondered if the rat was in my house at that very moment tearing up my most prized possession in an attempt to pay back this frighten American who cried, “RAT!”
My Bhutanese friends gave me a solution. They suggested that I give it a name and whenever I see it, I should call it by the name, talk nicely to it or just ignore it. Some of my coworkers leave crackers out for their “house rats” so that the rats leave their vegetables and clothes alone. One of my friends said that she scattered tons of rice on the floor for them when she went away for several weeks and asked the rats to take care of her place while she was gone. When she came back, she discovered that they had a huge party by the amount of rat droppings they left, but they didn’t destroy her stuff. Keeping the rats happy by bribing them is a solution instead of killing them. Most Bhutanese people practice the Buddhist philosophy of living a compassionate life and not harming living things. It’s a sin to kill a rat or any living creature. Therefore, just like with the stray dogs, they live with the mice/rats in peace. I haven't seen any places that sell rattraps or rat poisons to kill rats like we have in America.
|Rats have a bad Rep in America|
It’s not uncommon to be sitting in a home in Bhutan and see a mouse scurry by and no one freaks out. In America, if a woman see’s a mouse in her home, she might scream like she’s being murdered and head to the nearest store for mouse traps. I also know some American men that would also scream like a girl if they saw a rat. In fact, I’ve seen some hysterical videos on “America’s Funniest Videos” of people screaming their heads off seeing a rat in their home. I don’t know what it is about these little creatures that can scare a person. Lately, I have been thinking about what caused me to act the way I did in the bathroom with Templeton (my rat’s new name from Charlotte's Web) and why I had been tapping my broom around like a crazy person. I’ve come to conclude that for the most part American’s view of mice/rats is different from Bhutanese views of rats. I was taught that a rat is a nuisance, dirty, disease-carrying rodent and should be exterminated if it moves in your home. This belief is filed somewhere in my brain. Therefore, when I see a rat, the file magically appears and the chaos begins. Although this is what I have been brainwashed to believe for three decades, in my heart I don’t want to kill the rat and I think that the Buddhist philosophies are more in line with my values.
Now at the age of 29, I’m living in Bhutan and I’m trying to reprogram my beliefs about mice/rats to adopt a more Buddhist approach, which I love. I’m telling myself not to be scared of them, if they come in for a visit just ignore them and don’t scream or run around in fear. Instead I will say, “Hello pretty Timpleton” (remember I named the dang rat) and I'll remember whatever I do DON’T PISS OFF THE RATS. However, I will not feed them because I don’t want them to keep coming back and then get all revengeful on me the day I forget to feed them tea and crackers. I don’t have a lot of stuff here, so it’s easy to keep my place clutter free and I have no goodies for them to eat (it’s all locked in my fridge including spices and all my clothes are out of reach). So I’m hoping they won’t have any reason to come other than to say hello.
|She dropped them off on the other side of the river...|
If It Bites You, Its Good Luck
Later on that day, my friend confessed to me that last year she trapped a bag of rats from her home and dropped them off on my side of the river because they won’t cross the cold water to get back to her house. She thinks that my fat rat is one of hers and I’m thinking about catching him to give him back to her as an early Christmas gift. Ha-ha. I think that she felt guilty or sorry for me because she was the only one who helped me find out how the rat got in. We checked everywhere, but we couldn’t find any rat holes and my bathroom drain has a tight mesh over it. Finally, she gave me the worst news about the rat’s entryway, which was through my front door. The good news was it also left through the front door. Yes, there is a huge gap under my door for creatures to squeeze through, such as snakes and mice. It’s like my front door is a 24-7 open invitation for any critter to come in. I’m not quite sure how I am going to fix it, but it’s on the top of my list. As I pouted about the front door, my friend tried to make me feel better and told me that if the rat bit me above my waist, it means that I would have good luck. On the other hand, if it bit me below the waist, then I would have bad luck. Holy moly, I don’t want it to bite me anywhere, even if it will bring me good luck.
|This could be good luck!|
Fortunately, I haven’t seen the rat again and I don’t hear him scurrying around my house at night. I’m hoping that my “toothpaste vampire look” or the weird dancing scared him off for good and he won’t come back with a gang of friends to “pay me back” in any way. My new Buddhist attitude is starting to kick in slowly and I no longer peek from room to room with a broom for unnecessary security. Ok, maybe sometimes I take the broom with me when I take a bath in my red tub, just in case it gets thirsty or frisky. However, I know that the real test on my new Buddhist ways will come when we meet face to face again. I will keep everyone posted because I’ve been told that having mice/rats in my home is unenviable. It’s only a matter of time before I might dance again with Templeton, the acrobatic rat. Sigh!