I have a deep, abiding, bone chilling, creepy crawly feeling on my skin, migraine inducing fear of rats. My Room 101 would be the same as Winston's in 1984. I'm not sure of all the origins of my fear, but I do know that one pivotal weekend as an impressionable youth, I watched a horrible Twilight Zone episode (the new version) in which the rats were as big as cats AND the movie Ben. It was a bad weekend, a very bad weekend.
Then, later, on my mission, I lived in a house that had rats living in the ceiling. I didn't sleep for months, lying there listening to the scurrying. And at the husband's place before we got married, he had mice, the product of his landlord's policy of keeping garbage in the basement instead of a dumpster. And one tragic day when we returned from our honeymoon...well, let's just say that some ill-placed sticky traps and a badly conceived plan of closing the door and lining it with said stick traps before we left for two weeks resulted in...a warm mouse graveyard. It wasn't pretty. Or particularly nice smelling. And then there was our apartment in Philadelphia, where one day I discovered a huge Hershey's Kiss I'd given the husband was now half a Hershey's Kiss and lots of little gnaw marks.
I was reminded of all this when I was cleaning out a closet at church yesterday and found...a gnawed piece of chocolate. And then lots of pieces of foil and shredded paper and fabric and droppings and found myself staring at an actual rat's nest. And then I was staring at it from across the room while I gave any of them that might be lurking around plenty of time to run away, off to their little rat villas in the roof. Eventually, I got brave and came back and finished cleaning, cautiously.