Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Rat Ate My Arm

A few weeks ago my next door neighbor reported that there were large, noisy animals racing around her ceiling. She described them as a party of large, stomping animals of unknown species that were running around like maniacs making a racket. We conjectured that they were either squirrels or giant rats. She refused to report it to the landlord or animal control and so I dismissed it as "not my problem."

But when you live next door to the problem, it does become your problem. Exactly yesterday it became my problem. At 12:30am they moved the party west and right over my head in the bedroom. It actually sounded like one very giant rat scratching and clawing and running around, very loudly, booming in fact, and an arm's length from my head (I sleep in a loft bed).

The husband contended that many years ago when this was a problem he solved it by banging on the ceiling, much like you would do to a noisy upstairs neighbor (but we live on the top floor), and much like was done to me as a child playing jacks on the bedroom floor, driving the man downstairs nutty with his broom. So we banged and sure enough in a few minutes the rat was gone. But not forever. At 6:00am, almost on the dot, it was back. So we started banging. And banging. It woke up my son, who came in wondering what the fuck we were doing. It didn't, however, do a thing for the rat. We were literally banging right under it, and it didn't move at all, it just kept scratching and clawing and digging and jumping having itself a good old rat time in the ceiling. I got up and went to work early.

Because my happiness is what makes the sun rise and set, the husband did call the landlord who sent his lackies very quickly to survey the situation. They set off the roof alarm (because not even they have the key to this loudest manmade object on earth) and found a hole. After promising an exterminator and a patch to the hole, they also mentioned they might have to cut a hole in our ceiling to place the poison. So we will possibly next have a very bad smell. Stay tuned.

So tonight I've been waiting for the rats to return. It's hard to sleep with such anticipation but eventually at about 1:30am I feel asleep. Until I woke up very suddenly when my arm had fallen dead, not even tingly, but completely dead. I sat up quickly, shaking my arm, very groggy. The sudden movement made the husband wake up, which startled me into thinking that there was a rat in the bed and it was eating my arm which would explain why I couldn't feel it. I screamed rather loudly, which did wake me up fully. He, in his very maleness, did not scream. I will never understand how someone can hold in that screaming impulse, which comes to me rather regularly and without warning. The situation clarified and I realized that there was no rat in the bed, and my screams did not wake up my son, thankfully. I was shaking and tearful when I put together what had caused my unrest. It was 1:50am.

And so, here I am, unable to sleep, 3:06am, because the rat was eating my sleeping arm and now I fear I am up for the night. Insomnia and rats just don't mix.

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