This article is from the Summer I 1997 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.
By Nichole Royer
As many of you already know, I recently started a new job. Working in City Hall and riding the bus to and from work every day has been a new and rather novel experience for me. I am sure that the folks I work with, and those on the bus, would say the same thing about me.
The first week of work I simply didn’t mention the critters. They require a long explanation, and I didn’t know how my coworkers would react. This lasted right up until the first Friday, when I was asked what my plans were for the weekend. When I replied that I was going to the L.A. Fair to work “our booth,” they of course asked, “What booth?” So much for being normal.
It’s a good thing the subject of my furry friends came up however, as the very next Monday was the ultimate test of just what I would do for the critters. You see, Monday was the day I found the greatest rat toy ever invented.
Our office is directly across the hall from personnel. This in itself isn’t exciting until you consider one frequent occupation in that office...shredding paper!
That’s right, shredded paper. Lots and lots of shredded paper. Several 55-gallon trash bags stuffed to overflowing. I just about fell over when I saw it all sitting there waiting to go out to the trash.
Well, I just couldn’t leave it there. I couldn’t take it all however (the bags weighed about 25 pounds each) so I chose the largest one and toted it back to my desk. This occasioned some rather confused stares from others in the office, though my boss knew right off who my “find” was for and exclaimed, “Oh, the ratties will love that!”
Now that I had all this paper in my possession, I just had one more problem. How on earth was I going to get it home on the bus. I wasn’t sure I could even get this huge bag through the door of the bus, let alone into a seat. I figured all I could do was try.
You meet other rat lovers in the strangest of places. In this case it was my usual bus driver that surprised me by saying, “It’s for your RATS! Oh they will have a ball!” Apparently she had pet rats many years ago, so was very fond of them.
So through the bus door my bag was stuffed. Then down the isle to my seat. In order to get there I had to carry the bundle over my head. I am sure I looked real graceful carrying that huge bag, along with my briefcase, purse, and coat. Every person on the bus stopped what they were doing and stared at me with expressions that ranged from surprise to startled interest.
I quickly resisted the urge to announce to the bus at large my reasons for having this bag, and just what I was going to do with its contents. It would not help matters any. I found a place for the bag and quickly sat down.
Naturally the process of leaving the bus was as interesting as getting on. The few people who had entered after I did, now got to see what they missed. Once I was off I only had to lug the bag across a busy street, ignoring the stares of the people waiting in their cars for the light to change. Then, finally, I could toss it in the back of my truck and get it home.
Was it worth all the bother? You bet it was. Just to see the expression on my critters faces when they first encountered all that glorious, wonderful paper, shredded just right to make the perfect nest.