Tuesday, August 11, 2015


When first in this area, I found myself on the edge of many real estate discussions. Having little money and no prospect of soon buying property, I found these discussions hardly intelligible and not interesting. Then I found it was discussions of children, child care, and schools; I suppose the lag may have been to get the house painted and the student loans paid down. Again I had nothing to contribute to the conversation, and no way of judging others' contributions. Eventually my stage of life caught up, and I hope that I inflicted only minimal boredom on those on the edges of the house and kids conversations.

This weekend I discovered another local discussion, the rat discussion. We have been through a rat infestation that lasted almost six months. It ended with the trapping of one rat, and the detection and closing of a plumbing vent carelessly left open. It could be that there are a couple of dead rats in the walls--it's hard to be sure. We found, though, that pretty much everyone we know has a rat story.

One household has an active burrow in the back yard. Another trapped one hundred rats in six months. One man went to a school were rats were poisoned over a break, and rotted where they died, in the walls. A woman had rats in her basement because of bad concrete work.

My first rat story goes back about 35 years. I did not find it at the time especially disgusting or depressing, nor I think did my housemates, though we were eager to get rid of the rats. I suppose that single men in their early twenties have a higher tolerance for rats scuttling through the ceilings or foraging pantries.

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