Rats Bellow

My fiancé, Kristen, and I saw The Lone Bellow at The Bowery Ballroom this week. I came to the realization that I’m getting old when it comes to my eardrum’s capacity for loud noise. The opening act, an electronic retro style band, wailed away on stage, and while the music was good, my ears were not enjoying themselves. At one point I turned to Kristen and said, “Do they have to play it so damn loud?” I thought about my comment shortly after and how a few years ago I would have probably made fun of anyone that said that at a concert.

Everyone was dressed the same in the audience – skinny jeans, plaid shirt, facial hair, and 1980s style glasses frames. Virtually all of the girls wore the same thing minus the facial hair. Some of them had on dresses looking like they had raided Mad Men’s wardrobe department while a few of them finished off their outfits with solid colored knit hats haphazardly perched on top of their heads. I stroked my beard as I thought about this and looked down at my plaid shirt and tight jeans.

After the show, we turned up Delancey to walk to the F train. The sidewalk narrowed between a large pile of garbage and the metal gates of closed storefronts. We walked up the block when a few large rats scurried across and disappeared into the garbage. Kristen and I stopped. There was no way we were going to continue up the sidewalk. More and more rats started coming out from under the metal gate, jetting over into the garbage while other rats emerged from the garbage and disappeared under the gate. The little looters were having a ball. It resembled a pirate ship battle between the garbage pile and the storefronts; each side hurled rats back and forth at each other like cannon balls. We watched in amazement. There must have been some tasty trash juice in that pile.

An unsuspecting couple strolled down the block toward us as we watched like the whole thing was an episode of Fear Factor. As they reached the battleground, a couple of rats darted across the sidewalk causing the couple to jump back. The garbage hurled more rats across the sidewalk, a few running over the feet of the couple as they zigzagged around the rabid concrete obstacle course. When they reached the edge of the garbage, scores of rats began dumping out of the pile finding their way into a hole in the sidewalk. It looked like bags were filled with an endless supply of rats. They kept coming. And coming. The couple finally exited the rat gauntlet. We smiled at the couple and continued across the Bowery.

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