Summer Fridays (aka, The Rat)

Summer Fridays are a beautiful NYC tradition, wherein between Memorial Day and Labor Day employees work a little extra Monday-Thursday and take all of Friday (or at least Friday afternoon) off. What a glorious idea!

Of course, as a new employee on a mandatory six month “probationary period” I am not eligible for this or many other perks. One must prove their mettle before being allowed to take advantage of tuition remission, professional development funds, or the venerated Summer Fridays.

As the lowly New Employee on a Summer Friday, I find myself alone in my spooky, though beautiful, pre-war building. The motion-sensor lights keep switching off outside my office, lending to the general atmosphere of solitude.

And that’s when I see it. Hugging the wall, a classic navigation trick of the Ratus norvegicus. Moving too fast, too low to the ground for the motion sensors to detect. In the dark, I am not alone. I am living (working) among rats.

As I’ve said before, I am not generally one to shriek, and I’m happy to report that I did not shriek in this moment, The First Office Rat Sighting. Instead, I did what I normally do when stressed or scared, which is to start a low-pitched running monologue, “Oh no. No, no, no. Nope. No. No thank you. That’s a no from me. Oh no. Oh no, thank you.”

If it had been a Thursday, this might have attracted some of my colleagues who probably would have known such basic information as who manages the building and how to contact them. But it was a Summer Friday, which meant I was alone, the sole Homo sapiens.

And that is how I spent one Summer Friday standing on my swivel chair chanting, “Nope!” and sending my former boss frantic all-caps texts asking if I could return to my job in Colorado.

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