Today I was cleaning out my bedroom. An ephemeral flash of self-motivation to handle the easily neglected corner housing my backpacking packs, my sweaters that it is never cold enough to wear, and a graveyard of plastic bags, waiting to be resurrected through one of the myriad uses that makes their presence in that dark corner a precious commodity. The corner had gotten out of control and my OCD was now in the driver’s seat. The problem had to be addressed.
Gear removed, laundry sorted to its proper place, that’s when I saw the shreds of plastic bags and scraps of fabric from an old dry-cleaning bag. A nest had been formed, over how much time, I probably don’t want to know. Moments later, the rat appeared, jumping out of a tattered Shoprite shopping bag. This is the part where I say that I ran into the other room to grab a bucket and a shoe to wrangle the little sucker into a live trap that would lead to his survival…but in realty I shouted, ran into the other room to get away from the damn thing, had to calm my nerves before returning to TRY to enact the aforementioned plan. But alas, he, or she, was long gone. Likely under my bed. Yes, I am sitting on my bed typing this, knowing full well there is probably a rat chilling a foot below me.
The point here is not to highlight any challenges of living here – I have a fraction of the rats and cockroaches in this house than I had in Philadelphia and New York. The point is, sometimes inspiration comes, ostensibly out of nowhere, to challenge a problem that you just cannot ignore anymore. Once faced, that problem can show you nothing more than a bigger problem you had no idea you would find there. A mess becomes a rat, a rat becomes a fear, a paranoia, a challenge to your very ability to live life in peace.
I do not mind the rat. He can live down there, in the dark confines of my bed frame, and pop out occasionally to munch on the crumbs left over from a night of snacking in bed (terrible habit). As long as he doesn’t crawl on my face or bother V, we’re in the clear.
In the same vein, the rats in our lives, those unexpected disturbances, need to be accepted while they exist. We do not need to embrace them full on, we just need to know that their presence in our lives is not permanent. And in the meantime, we just need to have a sense of humor about it. And know that when all other truths falter, one truth of life remains: it is always changing.