I’m staring at a rat on the subway tracks
She’s staring back at me
It’s a case of mutual disdain
Well, not really mutual.
I think she’s the more disgusted of the two
I’m trying to read what’s going on in her tiny rat brain
As best as I can tell, she’s feeling superior
Rat: “What’s so special about you?
You have to worry about making the rent and paying the bills
Rushing around trying to get to appointments, engagements, assignments, assignations.
You’re at the mercy of a tyrannical boss
Plagued by insomnia, anxiety, depression
Obsessed with keeping up with fashion, current events, trends
(she knew me pretty well)
Rat: “I have everything I need right here in my subterranean Eden.
I have a steady supply of food and water and a warm place to sleep
I don’t waste my time thinking – boo hoo – I don’t have a mate.
30 glorious seconds of shame free sex and I had all I needed from the male of my species
25 rat babies. I nursed them for one month, then booted them out of the nest
I don’t ever worry about them. At the very least a couple of them will survive long enough to give me grandchildren and make me virtually immortal.
It was that easy.
The rat is still staring at me
“What are you looking at?” I say out loud, causing a few people to move down to the other end of the platform
“You think your life is so great? What about all of the beauty in the world? What about the gratification of achieving accomplishments and successes in your life? What about friendships? Family? What about art? What about love?”
“What about it?” she sneered. Her beady eyes were glowing with hatred. Then her look softened a little.
“Hey,” she said. “What about that pretzel?”
I could see that she was greedily eying the last uneaten piece that I held in my hand.
“Fuck you rat!” I screamed. “You and your goddamn perfect life.”
I really didn’t want the rest of the pretzel. I was going to throw it away.
But I stuffed it in my mouth and ate it while she watched.
Out of spite.