I bought a knish from a street vendor and made my way up 6th Avenue to Central Park . Jon was meeting with his editor from Simon and Schuster and I had an hour and a half to myself.
I chose the park over MOMA because the line there was so long, by the time I got into the museum, I’d only have thirty minutes or so to look at the art. First I found a bathroom in the park, then a bench near a pond to sit on. There was a log with turtles on it in the pond and as people walked by they stopped to look at them.
What they didn’t see was the family of rats scampering around the underbrush right in front of them.
I couldn’t stop watching them. They’d run up the tall leafy stems, chasing away the birds who sat on the tips. Then they’d circle around, chasing each other in and out of the holes at the edge of the black top path. At one point a really big rat ran across the path and into one of the holes.
I thought how rats in a natural environment appear so different then when you see them in the subway or on the street. And even worse if they’re in a restaurant or home. But running up the tall plants and chasing each other in the grasses, they were more like rabbits or squirrels.
Humans have a way of taking away or messing with an animals environment, then, when they do their best to survive under the new circumstances we demonize them.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d put out a rat trap in my house in a minute if one decided to move in. I guess that’s the advantage we have over them. But they’re pretty hardy and don’t give up easy. And I have to admire them for that.