|Photography by Michelle|
You might think I'm lame.
But last night, I experienced a moment of pure elation. Excitement in me produced child-like grins and clapping. A quick hop-step signified that I am still a little kid at heart.
Yes, it was something that many people have seen and experienced. But for me, it was a first-time experience. And it was glorious.
I saw my first foot-long rat, walking amongst the general population on 16th and 3rd, crossing the street to only disappear amongst the local shrubbery.
The friend I was with let out a quiet, "What…is that… crossing the street ahead of us?" to which I simply squealed with joy and started clapping.
I don't know why it was so significant for me. I think people, to some extent, want to see the loathsome beasts that live below the street where they are hidden away in the endless tunnels. Even when they effortlessly cross the subway tracks, its exciting.
But for the majority of the New York population, it's normal. It's something that happens often. And for me now? I went through what felt like an initiation, a rite of passage. I've seen my rat. I've experienced the one-time moment of "That is AWESOME!" followed by high-fiving random strangers.
**Side note** I would like to point out that Sarah, our lovely Editor-in-Chief, has a funny story involving a guy friend who jumped in fear at the sight of one and proceeded to push her towards the fearsome monster. But that's probably a story for another day.
Anyway, what's fun for me though (in reflecting upon this… yeah, I reflect about rat sightings in my free time…) is that the experience wasn't about the rat. It wasn't about the joy nor the few moments of feeling like a little kid on Christmas who receives his BB gun.
No, what was fun is that I saw something that most New Yorkers have seen in their time living here. It brought me closer to a city, nay, a community that calls themselves "New Yorkers."
I used to loathe New York City. I was from Connecticut (that's enough of an explanation…) and for some reason, NYC annoyed me. But now working in the city everyday, I am madly in love with it.
The fast pace.
The sounds, smells, sights, feelings - everything.
Even the annoying cab drivers make me happy. Because as someone who is always in NYC, I love being able to start calling myself a "New Yorker." And it's not about an image thing. No, it's about finally becoming connected to a city that truly is the greatest city in the world.
So to my unknown furry rodent, I tip my hat and say thank you, thank you for a moment of joy that brought me closer to the city I love.