Wednesday, July 11, 2007
I'm not sure how to explain this but yesterday after my wife told me that she was going to spend the better part of the morning shopping at places like Target and Loew's I asked her if she would not mind picking up a Remy ex Ratatouille rat for me. I don't know if she agreed to do it because with the kids away at camp in North Carolina she's feeling lonely and so predisposed to be kind to me, or if she's just resigned to the fact that her fifty two year old husband is not as mature as his age should warrant.
But there he is: my rat holding a piece of rubber cheese while he contemplates the presence of two pieces of roasted fennel left over from last night's salad. He's beautiful, no?
The last time I had a rats in my kitchen was 1984. I was working in a restaurant (Le Coq Hardi) in the basement of a converted 19th century carriage shop in Ridgefield, Connecticut. I discovered their intrusion one morning when I found gnaw marks in a block of Callebaut semi-sweet chocolate in the dry goods storage at the rear of the main dining room. I quickly located their point of entry to an area just under the dish washing station where the mortar that bound the field stone foundation had become soft from the constant dampness.
While I was poking around under the pot sink my dishwasher, a louche 17 year old who was often so stoned that he would entertain himself by placing a single spoon in the sink and shooting it with the rinse wand, walked in and asked me what I was doing under the sink.
"We've got a problem" I said, "small animals have broken through the foundation and are coming in at night and stealing our food. This morning I found a 1/4 pound of chocolate missing."
"Small animals?" He said, "What kind of small animals?"
"Toy poodles. Toy poodles are digging down from the parking lot and eating through the foundation."
"Wow, man. That's f--ked up" He said and walked off to punch his time card.
I never bothered to tell him that I'd been busting his chops. He was useless as a dishwasher and I was planning to fire him as soon as I could find a replacement. In my youth I had no use for fools like him and may not have bothered to tell him the truth even if he had been the best employee in the house. But now, as I enter the dawn of my dodder hood and find myself writing about my delight over the purchase of a rubber rat, I have to wonder if that boy -now grown into a man- will not read this and think "What an asshole."