I wake up this morning thinking, “What a gorgeous day! I should take the girls on a picnic.” So I pack up my two youngest kiddos and some grub, and we end up at this beautiful park.
We’re minding our own business, just relaxing on a bench and watching graceful butterflies flit about as we enjoy our lunch in the fresh air.
And then it happens.
My twelve year old straightens suddenly and asks, “Is that…a RAT?”
And sadly, friends, it is. Yes, a RAT crouches just across the path from us, staring at us as we picnic in what now appears to be his territory.
And if you know much about me, you know that this quickly becomes the shortest picnic ever.
I start yelling at the girls to “Hurry up and finish eating!” so we can get out of this ridiculously RAT-infested park. (Yes, I know we just see one at the moment…but there must be more, right? In fact, I’m seeing them everywhere I look now, and feeling them crawl up my legs, and they might even be spitting on me. Do rats spit? I’m pretty sure this one does.)
Although we can see our uninvited guest still lurking in the shadowy grass, at this point I’m thinking that maybe there’s still hope—that perhaps we can hurry up and finish and get out of here—when all of the sudden, the rat decides to leave his foxhole—and yes, that’s exactly what it is, as I’m sure he’s just waiting to attack us—and he comes right onto the path, not three feet away from my feet…or, I should say where my feet WERE, because you know I am up on that bench in no time flat.
Now I hear a lady from way across the park yelling, “What was THAT?” and looking in our direction. She proceeds to call out that she thinks she hears a bird that is sick or hurt. No, lady; settle down. That’s just me choking on my own screams. In the meantime, the rat is still moving toward us, and sadly enough, my five year old is cooing, “It’s OK, Mommy; it’s going to be OK.” (Hang on a minute…shouldn’t I be comforting her?)
But there is no comfort to be had. I feel sick now. My older daughter is delighted with this, because now she gets to eat my lunch. I just can’t down another bite.
So maybe my shouts and squeals do disrupt the beautiful day at the park for every visitor within half a mile (or, as I prefer to think of it, they warn other park guests), but they also send the rat back into his hiding spot (temporarily, I’m sure). I take this opportunity to grab our stuff, jump down from the bench, and high-tail it out of there. I’m yelling to the girls to come quickly, as I’m pretty sure he’s chasing after us now. They shake their heads (as though this is funny?) but I can still feel those beady eyes boring holes through my legs and feet, which are now touching the same ground the rat is standing on. This makes me uncomfortable, to say the least.
As we rush to exit the park, I refuse to make eye contact when I pass the lady who worries about people only when she thinks they are hurt birds, but apparently doesn’t give a hoot about defenseless women and children, even after they scream, “A RAT! There’s a RAT over here!”
During our hasty retreat, my older daughter remarks, “Of all the living creatures on earth, I think the one most dangerous when frightened is YOU, Mom.” I just lock the car door, shiver, and try not to leave marks in the parking lot as we escape.
(Have I mentioned how I feel about RATS?)
The next time I wake up to a beautiful day, you can bet I’ll think twice about taking the kids out for a picnic.