Rats are back!

china ratsMy Internet cable.

I arrive at office, switch on the computer and… no Internet signal.

Well, maybe the government decided that today is unsafe to check our emails and wants to protect us…” I think while I identify myself with Aureliano Buendia, who never fought with c.e.n.s.o.r.s.h.i.p but, I’m sure, would have lose again…

Then I see the yellow stain behind the monitor and a suspect arises on my mind:

Maybe I shouldn’t blame the government for c.e.n.s.u.r.i.n.g our Internet connection this time, maybe…

And then I notice my almonds have disappeared. Yes, now I’m almost sure of what’s going on.
But I need a proof!

I then proceed to check my Ethernet CAT5e UTP 10/100. It may seems a simple task to you, but I share the office with twenty people, that is my cable is thirty meters long and spreads all along the office through desks, air-conditioners, tons of documents and our beloved deposit of 开水 (kāishuǐ), that is the hot water we use to fill up our teapots.

china rats开水!

After twenty minutes of investigation, I unravel the mystery… Someone nibbled my cable!

Yeah, Sherlock Holmes would have been proud of me,” I think before to scream:

“老鼠回了” Rats are back!

Oh, it was a long time they didn’t eat my Internet cable, almost three months…

Some of my coworkers come to check out the situation… it’s always like that, they would never believe me: they are not 坏人 (huàirén), I know they sort of like me and always make their best to help me. However, I’ve noticed Chinese people often assume a paternalistic attitude towards white devils that still don’t master Mandarin. It is difficult to explain, but I would summarize it as “Let’s check if the silly 老外 (lǎo​wài) understood what’s going on this time.”

At the end everybody comes to check check my cable. They agree with me:


Pan maybe thinks I’m upset because also last time I was the lucky one, that is the rats always choose to nibble my cable: he puts his hand on my shoulder – ah! he0’s such a paternalistic – and explains to me for the second time in three months:

You see, the rats have their house inside the air-conditioner, I think they like air conditioned because it’s fresher on summer.

I’m tempted to argue with him. I mean, the air-conditioner spits fresh air but inside there is a motor so it must be damn hot… Two years ago I would have definitely told him:

Pan, have you ever tried to touch the motor of your f*cking fridge? Is that fresh? Because mine is damn HOT!” But I’m learning to preserve harmony (or trying at least) so I agree with him:

Yeah, rats really like the air-conditioned, isn’t it? Sorry Pan but I need to go washing my hand ’cause I’ve been touching cables for last twenty minutes and now my hands are full of rats shit!

He lets me go.

When I come back I find him and Bo that are working at the air-conditioner: they had already opened it and discovered that yeah, rats are back and have been amassing food with great efficiency: I can see my almonds… I almost get them back, just for showing to Fievel and his little friends who is the boss…

I ask to the guys:

Hey, what about I buy some poison?

Pan looks at me disapproving, puts again his hand on my shoulder and proceeds to explain:

You see, we could put the poison, but it’s not the right solution. Rats will die inside the air-conditioner and poison our air…

rats in chinaPan-Confucio

I’m thinking “Well, we could check every week and remove the died rats” but before I can talk, he keeps going:

You see, we cannot fight against nature. If we cannot beat rats, maybe we should learn to live with them,” he concludes with a big smile.

I guess Pan has been reading too much new age Confucianism…

I decide the only way to preserve harmony is to leave, so I go home and write the following email to my boss:

Dear Qiu,

the rats ate my Internet cable again. I went to work home.


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