While I am reluctant to state that my apartment “has” a rat, it could be accurately stated that a rat has been spotted around our home on occasion. For my roommate, this represents the worst-case scenario as regards household pests. But as much as I would like to present a united front against this rat, a stirring display of human solidarity against this probably plague-addled invader, I can’t seem to muster more than a shrug.
So far as vermin go, the brown rats that are so common in New York and have recently grown more visible in neighborhoods near mine, seem like amiable houseguests. The rat is soft and warm-blooded and covered in fur. It just wants to eat something and scurry back off to a dank nest, maybe to cuddle with a house cat.
This rat and I, in other words, are a lot alike. There is room for an accord.My rare encounters with the creature have all involved it scuttling out of the room upon seeing me. ‘Oh, shit,’ it seems to say. ‘I was just heading out.’ It’s the same vibe one gets from a friend who has overstayed a welcome on your couch and begins tidying the living room when you stroll in, as if this is what he has been doing all day.
Not so, the roach. Roaches, even if they are full of bizarre super-medicines, remain the worst of all possible pests.
Even when they aren’t around, roaches feel like they’re around, instilling an omnipresent sense of dread in an apartment’s rightful owners, who can only ever be certain of one thing – no matter how many roaches they have gruesomely dispatched, there are always more roaches. Somewhere. Waiting. Plotting. For me, this thought is too much to bear, and a far worse fate than life alongside a single, well-mannered muroid.
Am I alone on this? Which of the many incidental roommates provided by New York makes your skin crawl the most? Is it rats? Roaches? Or another beast or bugaboo that will always be a deal-breaker on even the finest apartment?