My wife was right: I can’t defeat the rats.
While the spiders, mosquitoes, and ants that have set up camp in our traditional home in Kinmen are manageable, the rats put everything over the top.
They are my wife’s breaking point — the threshold between enduring and getting the fuck out.
When I first began doing battle with the rats my wife told me that it was futile. “You can only get rid of them in an enclosed space. This place is wide open — they’re just going to keep coming in!” she reasoned.
The traditional Chinese house that we’re staying in is not an enclosed space. Not only does it have all the open air aspects of a courtyard home but the doors don’t close all the way. The two old wooden side doors have massive gaps at the bottom, and the rats rush in and out in rivulets.
I’m not using the word rivulets poetically here. It’s an all out infestation.
Two nights ago I set up a trap by the refrigerator. Within five minutes I caught one. Within one hour I caught four or five.
Then I gave up. It was clear that the more rats I caught the more rats were going to come in. For all intents and purposes, the stream was endless. Plus I have better things to be doing than catching rats.
We considered getting a cat. But is the torn apart, bloody, and disembowled carcasses of rats laying all over the house really better than alive rats who are courteous enough take their entire bodies with them when they scurry away?
I’m a traveler, not a home owner. When things in the places that I stay break or become too uncomfortable I just leave. I don’t fight, I run. In almost any other circumstance I would be gone by now.
But it’s a friend who I subletted this house from, and I already prepaid for two months……
But I really like being in this place. That’s the real reason for my delayed departure. I like the traditional house, I like the village, I like the countryside…
But I have two daughters who are always all over the floor. I have a wife who hides in our room on the bed with the door closed crying because she’s afraid of the rats…
Fuck, what am I doing here?