The most visceral memory I have of our trip to New York a couple of weeks ago was on a walk Jolie & I took along the Hudson River.
Jolie's friends recommended a bunch of places for us to go see. We were just coming from one of them, a downtown pizza joint that we were slowly waddling away from, leaving behind a confused server and two-thirds of the one and only pizza we ordered. Never order a pizza in America unless there are at least five people around who are willing to give you a hand.
Anyway, we're walking down the Hudson, hand-in-hand in the moonlight on our way to a bar that runs in a converted ship, when our path is crossed by this huge rat, just sitting there on the footpath underneath the lights. He didn't look like he was doing much, just chilling out on the river, enjoying the breeze.
I actually don't know if he was huge as rats go, since that's the only one I've seen. At first, I thought it was a slightly bulky chihuahua. When we figured out what it was, I was a bit surprised it wasn't busy inducting its turtle friends in the mysteries of ninjitsu. If I'd known, I would have brought them pizza.
All the while, it's just sitting there, bold as brass and in no mind to move off the footpath. I hadn't been in New York long enough to insist on my right of way, so I navigated us gently around Master Splinter and resumed our night-time amble toward wobbly-decked drinks, glancing over my shoulder very occasionally – only every three seconds or so – to make sure that no rodent horde was pursuing us.
I went to New York with a bit of a preconception that the natives were a bit rude, always in a hurry and more than willing to let you know about it. I didn't find it that way. The dog-sized rat there was easily the rudest New Yorker we met, and he was surprisingly relaxed for a repellent pest that's loathed by all and sundry. I guess he knew there were plenty worse places to be than in Manhattan in the moonlight.