Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Subway Cat or Ratspotting

I have decided that because I do it, it is a New York pastime. I have not asked other New Yorkers about this, but I think it must be true: I like to look for rats on the tracks while I wait for the train.

Rodents totally freak me out, but as long as I am "up here" and they are "down there" I can look at their busying antics with some removed fascination. I delight when there are two or three and I can safely watch their various scurrying maneuvers. I wonder if they know rats at other stops or are they all locals like surfers and their beaches.

Today I noticed a tail much longer and furrier than a rat's sticking out from behind a beam. It moved! I moved closer and sure enough it was some sort of possum or cat even. I had never in all my ratspotting days seen a larger animal down there. A cat made sense since there were rats a plenty, no? A cat, really?

There was a woman with wraparound sun glasses seemingly staring at this cat as well. I was about to ask her for confirmation as I did to passersby when I saw a dead body floating in a turret under the Golden Gate Bridge as a boy (my pal thought it was a cardboard box. I was right, he was wrong.). But I hesitated. I thought I should put on my glasses first. Odd notion, since I never use them for anything but the cinema or TV.

The sharpness of vision came immediately and that cat cowering in between the tracks waiting for its next ratty feast was crystal clearly nothing but a bit of tissue paper trapped.

As the train came by going the other way, my "cat" blew up and waived its paper tail in all its glory for those with good vision to see, but not notice.

For a blurry moment I had some amusement.

Thankfully I kept it to myself.


Criticlasm said...

72nd is a great rat-spotting station for some reason. Some are better than others.

57chevypreterist said...

Remember those huge rats in the green bushy median between 37th and Sunset in front of SI? Some of those babies were HUGE!

easca said...

I am howling about the ability to convince ourselves we see something that is not there (I so relate.) I am also thrilled that you bit your tongue but nearly did not. You got to savor the close call sensation without anyone knowing what a potential dork you were, mesmerized by paper cat. Rick says you have a new nickname - P-Rat.

pwlsax said...

Anything to do with rats is a New York pastime by default. The one exception would be shooting at them; firearms are meant to be used on people.