Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Earthquakes, rats and weasels

I couldn't sleep on Monday night, which might explain why I was awake when the earthquake struck at 4 a.m. It was ten seconds or so of horizontal rumbling. Nothing dramatic. Bit it shook my cage and I reached out to grab Tom's hand— he'd been in NY the last five days—and I couldn't believe how warm and alive he felt! When you sleep by yourself, the other side of the bed gets deliciously cool, but past a certain point, it just gets cold.

I wasn't sleeping because our rat Luna is sick. She's been through two operations to remove mammary tumors but this time it's something internal, and there's nothing we can do about it. I just hope she makes it until Maya comes home for spring break, that's ten days from now. I think she will; this morning she was perkier than the night before—a hopeful sign. She's a brave little rat.


As I was coming to accept the inevitable, I was watching a live cam of a hummingbird sitting on her eggs ( The most interesting thing, though, was the simultaneous live chat that was going on. Five-thousand people were on the site at one point, and I'd say for the most part, the chatters were complaining about the pace of the hatch. "It's taking so long, when's it going to happen?" they kept asking. Maybe they were young, maybe they hadn't been through childbirth, maybe they're/we're all too addicted to facebook and instant messaging and instant everything to have the patience to follow a hummingbird. But they'll/we'll figure it out soon enough: you can't force nature by clicking a mouse. Nature has it's own time frame, and it certainly isn't ours.

When I went to the web cam the next morning I found out the eggs had never hatched and probably weren't viable. But there it was, another thing nature was telling us, that death is part of it. That's what I keep telling myself anyway about Luna. She's had two good years with us and even though two years is short, it's the life span of a rat. During that time we've provided her with everything she's wanted: almonds, peanut butter on rice crackers, yogurt, lettuce and kale. Especially kale. She loves it cooked in olive oil and garlic. She was, and still is, a good rat. When Tom watches TV she sits beside him to keep him company; when I'm at the computer, she'll let me scratch her ears, making teeth chattering noises of delight. She greets me at the door at night when I come home from work. She starred in my video called RATZ the Movie, playing with a walnut and making the funny papers take off across the room like they had legs of their own.

a brave little rat

It's hard to sleep when you know someone's sick or dying. I wonder if the hummingbird is sleeping and what she'll do with her eggs when she finds out they're not going to hatch.


On Tuesday I read in the LA Times, under "National Briefing," about John Edwards' mistress telling all to GQ Magazine (Thank God!). My first thought was, I wonder how much they're paying her?, and my second thought was, Edwards is such a rat! But then I realized that's not fair to rats, who are extremely smart little creatures, the opposite of Edwards. He's a weasel then, but that's not fair to weasels either, who are just trying to fend for themselves among much bigger critters. So he's a pig. But pigs, according to E.B. White, are innocent, obligingly eating their slop to fatten up for their masters to slaughter them. So no, he's not a pig. So what is he then, this man who ran for President deceiving himself and worse, deceiving us, the electorate?  If you can think of a good name, I'd like to know.

1 comment:

  1. So sorry to hear that Luna is sick. That photo of her back, whenever you actually took it, is such a classic image of a sick pet. I'm sure she's had a wonderful two years, although two years is so brief. She certainly made me laugh in Ratz. I was hoping for more.

    I was struck by the same thing with the hummingbird. Too bad abt the eggs.

    Animals, brutes though they may be, are just not in the same league of arrogance and self-deceit as Edwards. Orwell went with pigs, for what it's worth.