I’ve written multiple times here about my fear of opossums. It probably wouldn’t shock anyone to hear that I’m terrified of being eaten by something lurking in the deep end of a swimming pool. I’ve never gotten over my fear that a witch or monster may be lurking beneath my bed to snatch at my feet as I sleep. And I’ve always been terrified that I would have my fingers or tongue trailing out the window in the breeze on a road trip and get the outlying appendage snagged on barbed wire and ripped off.
So you, you know, stuff that makes total sense and is super likely to happen.
There are others too. Some that I can’t even recall at the moment but that emerge when the moment is right. Or ridiculous.
But of all of them the one that stands out the most. The one I have always, for as long as I can remember, been afraid of. The one that is the most startling. Is that something would wriggle up from the sewer and emerge from the toilet bowl while I’m… you know. Using the toilet. Specifically since I can remember being a user of the toilet I have been afraid that a snake or rat would make its way up from the sewer, through the pipes, up the toilet bend, and emerge from the bowl of my toilet. And so I have worked years with myself to get the hell over it. Because that is the stuff of horror movies and urban legends, right. Right?
Until Friday night.
Because on Friday night I was home all by myself. I was exiting the bedroom with an arm-full of laundry. And as I passed by the open bathroom door motion caught my eye and I saw the head of a sleek wet little rat poke up from the toilet seat.
A RAT POKED ITS FUCKING HEAD OUT OF MY TOILET.
I did what, I believe, even the calmest and most rational person would do. I screamed. I screamed loud. I screamed hard. I screamed unintelligibly. I screamed a scream that I’m fairly certain horror movie foley artists would have killed to record.
It’s possible that the scream had the intended impact and the rat fell back into the toilet just before I grabbed a nearby yardstick, slammed the lid of the toilet shut with it, and jumped on top of the toilet screaming more and furiously pushing the handle to flush that rodent back from whence it came. I also called my brother screaming at him to come over while I texted my partner to tell him that A FUCKING RAT CLIMBED OUT OF THE TOILET.
What happened next was a blur. I flushed the toilet like a million times. I poured bleach down it. I boiled a huge pot of water and flushed boiling water down the toilet. I filled the now empty bleach jug with water and set it atop the toilet lid so I could stop standing on it. I called my landlady. I texted some more.
Rats live in the sewer. And a rat climbed out of my toilet.
I’m 40 years old and I have spent a good 35+ years of my life convincing myself that rodents and snakes do no climb out of toilets. Telling myself that is just the stuff of legend. Of horror movies. Of nightmares.
Well no more. Let’s admit the truth.
PSA: Rats can climb out of your fucking toilet. For real.
Apparently it usually happens after a substantial rain in a basement or first floor toilet And apparently it’s pretty common for them to die on the climb up. So I was just lucky?
For real. This is a thing. A gross thing.
I have nowhere to go from here. It’s taken me days just to be able to write this part down. But in case you’d like some helpful tips I’d really like to tell you that you should always keep the lid on your toilet shut. Just do that. And make sure you call the city and let them know. Because wow.
And apparently putting dish soap in your toilet tank, aside from the delightful funny side effect of making your toilet bowl sudsy, makes the pipes more slippery and harder for critters to crawl up.
Also I feel that I’m now totally justified in indulging all of my phobias. Because seriously. Rats can climb out of your toilet.
I’m so sorry. But I thought you needed to know.