I would like to think of it as a cat and mouse game. I think it was more of a big elephant in the room…me…jumping up on the bed at a shadow or was it a mouse? It was 7:20 this morning and I was ready to leave my apartment for my 12 Step meeting. My first thought when I caught the site out of my periphery was, “I’m leaving today. I’m getting the hell out of this city!” I have seen rats in the subway and on the sidewalk at night, but my apartment is clean and pest free. I think. I thought about it. A mouse could not get on the third floor…surely. I went to my meeting and calmed down. As I was discussing my morning with my friend, a New Yorker, nonchalantly said, “Oh yeah, a mouse can be on the 3rd floor; they can get in anywhere. That’s the city.” Well, my my my. That’s the city. This bustling pool of wonderful people with so many things to do. The city that is teaching me so many important life lessons may very well have a real lesson for me. There are rodents here. According to Robert Sullivan’s bestselling book, “Rats,” these creatures are as much city dwellers as we are. They belong here. I suppose I have invaded their space. I am the creature trying to fit here, not the other way around. They have their place. They have found their favorite holes in the wall. Literally. They know where to go when they need rest or be calm. They know where to scurry to find the best food. They know how to avoid the traffic and navigate the crowds. I am a neophyte still learning to steer my way along the waves of the city. Each day I encounter situations like, do I sandwich my way onto this train or do I wait for 7 minutes for the next train which will probably be as crowded? Do I turn on my air conditioner and deal with my upstairs neighbor who is somehow bothered by the noise which results in him stomping around the entire time as if he is engaging in some sort of revolting march? Do I walk to pick up my laundry now and carry it around or do I wait until later and backtrack so I can take it directly home? Or, if I have to be uptown by 7 pm, then I need to start walking because it takes me 5 minutes to walk to the stop, then to get thru the turnstile and walk to the platform and wait for the next train which I will squeeze onto and I must account for all of the stops because I’m not on an express train I’m on a local train which stops at every stop, and I must allow enough time if the train gets delayed for any reason like a maintenance issue or a track fire. In the three weeks, I have lived here I have figured a lot out about the city. I am feeling more at home here. But, I must tackle my biggest challenge yet. Is that a mouse or a shadow waiting for me at my apartment. I suppose I need to leave this cafe and go see.