I really love living back in the city again. There is so much energy, different types of people, sirens going off at all hours (my boys love the sirens). There are certain things about living in the city that you learn gradually. Unwritten rules that you pick up on. For example, one very important rule is Don’t Look Down the Alleyways at Night.
Whether you are walking or driving it’s best not to look down dark streets or into dark corners. At best you will see someone peeing. At worst, well, I can’t describe some of the worst things I’ve seen because my children’s grandmothers read this blog.
Just keep your eyes straight ahead. It’s best not to know. I learned this rule when we lived in Chicago. Not only would you perhaps see homeless shenanigans, but you would see Chicago’s most infamous residents: Rats. So many rats. There might be more rats than people there. And they’re big! You make the mistake of peering into the darkness and think to yourself, what a darling kitty rifling through the trash. Then it looks at you. Good Lord, THAT IS NOT A CAT!
We lived in an itty bitty studio apartment in Chicago. All kinds of creatures lived in that place. Mostly small children. But some others too. One day Tim went down to the basement to get something from the freezer (we had a dorm-sized fridge with a 3 inch high freezer that was always frosted over, therefore we kept our freezer food in the community freezer in the basement). I heard our downstairs neighbor yelling, then Tim’s voice, then some crashing and banging.
“There it goes!” crash “That way!” bang
I went to the stairwell and called down, “Is it a mouse?”
It wasn’t a mouse. It was a rat. A big one. And that was probably the last time I went to the basement.
Another time I was cutting chicken in our itty bitty, galley kitchen and I dropped a big chunk of chicken down in the space between the oven and the wall. It was a pretty big piece. I kept on cutting meat thinking I would get it after I put the food in the oven.
The next morning I woke up and remembered the chicken. No big deal, I thought. It will just be crawling with salmonella and who-knows-what else by this time. I’ll wash my hands really good. So over to the kitchen I go, get on my hands and knees, reach my hand in the small space…no chicken. It’s gone. What. The. Heck. I pushed the oven over an inch or so thinking somehow it rolled (square piece of chicken. right.) under the appliance. No chicken.
You guys, something lived in our apartment that was big enough or hungry enough to devour a 2 inch chunk of raw chicken. Blech! We never found out what it was, probably radioactive cockroaches or something. But you know what? It’s better not to know. That’s why I never look down dark alleys.