Crats = Cats+Rats

Here is a memory I’d forgotten! I generally don’t think culturtwining involves non-humans, so maybe this isn’t really a culturtwined story. But it’s about living somewhere different, and it’s just simply worth remembering.

CRATS, Amman, Jordan, 1 November 2008

I today want to portrait a phenomenon of the Middle East that I finally named this summer, in the end of my 7th year hanging out around these parts. The CRAT*

The Crat is not a human, nor an inanimate object. A crat is very much alive, and savvy and often quite hard-working at the business of surviving. On any given day I will cross paths with at least a dozen crats, some of which are horrifically ugly, others endearingly cute, and yet others just plain scary. Usually when I pass a crat there is a bag of rubbish or a big bin close by. Crats don’t usually scare me, but I think they probably should. Usually they either tug at my heartstrings or they groce me out.

Today, I passed three crats hanging out by a bag of rubbish on the sidewalk (pavement for you Brits). They were tearing at the plastic to get to all the yummy goods sitting inside. People aren’t usually very nice to crats, so when they saw me coming, they abandoned their feast and fled to the street.

My timing in walking up the sidewalk was fallacious, however, in that a car was approaching from the other direction. So as the crats fled my imposing presence, they ran straight into the path of the oncoming car. One tan crat was just plain slow, so never made it to the road in the first place. The second crat, a bright white character, was clever and fast and got out of the way in plenty of time. The third crat, gray and white striped…. SPLAT! I actually screamed. I’ve never screamed like a girl before (that I know of), but the thought of seeing a crat slaughtered in my face was a tad shocking.

The car shrieked to a stop. I stopped dead in my steps. The gray and white little guy stood up, shook its head and slowly followed its friends in the opposite direction. After taking a breath, I waved at the car. It drove off. I continued on my way, and Amman ‘s crat population continues at an all-time high.

*CRAT = Cats that play the role in society usually expected of Rats

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