On days that I work, I take the Metro train into DC and then walk about 15 minutes or so to my office. My route from the Metro to work is entirely dependent on the timing of the walk signals. If the walk sign is green, I go one direction. If it is red, I take a turn. This means I get to walk a different route almost every day.
That first walk signal though. I don’t know why, but it is almost always red, leaving me to make a right turn. Very rarely it is green, sending me on a route that, if the other signals cooperate, leads right past Alex’s office.
Today all the signals were in line and as I neared the corner by Alex’s office, I texted him to demand that he wave to me.
I rounded the corner, focused on his building windows across the street and expecting only to see Alex. Instead, I saw this:
Alex, looking out of his window, must have seen my head explode right there.
I waved to Alex, I took a flier from the guy standing next to the rat, and I continued walking. And then I stopped because, dude. I’ve seen Scabby the Rat before, but never close up like this. I knew I couldn’t just walk away without, well, without doing this:
As a former union member myself, I felt a little bit bad being a big dork around this Very Serious Protest, so I made sure to read the ENTIRE flier that the guy gave me as penance.
There was an actual picture of a fat cat on the flier.
It turns out that Occidental Petroleum is using a contractor who uses a subcontractor who does not pay area-standard wages and benefits. The Metropolitan Regional Council of Carpenters has a labor dispute with this subcontractor and wants you to call Occidental Petroleum to tell them that they should hire different contractors. *fist raised, solemn nod of solidarity*
Anywho, while this whole thing was going on, Alex was watching with his own special kind of joy. Evidently my backtracking for a photo and to get a better look did not go unnoticed by the guy handing out fliers. It turns out that I am neither subtle nor smooth.
But I was delighted. As you know, I’m a big fan of rodents, especially weird ones. Add in a good cause and a rare DC-sighting of Alex? Well, that was the best block in DC this morning.
* “The rat stands for obviousness” should actually be “the rat symbolizes obviousness,” but Alex and I always use it the first way, so that’s how it stands here. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, look up Ralph Wiggum and The Debarted/Departed.