Sunday, May 18, 2008

There Goes the Neighborhood

Urban decay is a terrible thing. Hard economic times have hit Puerto Rico, and you can see the signs of it everywhere. The street where the Hacienda is located is no exception. A few blocks from the Hacienda’s palatial grounds, there is a house that has been abandoned for some time. The likely scenario is that the owner is asking too much for it given the repairs it needs (the houses on this street being of a “classic” vintage). Perhaps it is tied up in an inheritance dispute, which would bode ill, given that the complexity of the estate provisions of Puerto Rico Civil Code and the lumbering inadequacy of our local courts would give rise to the inference that the property dispute would most likely be resolved at around the same time that we settle our political status questions. In either case, the fact remains that there is an abandoned house on our street, and now the wrong element has moved in.

You see them out in the yard in the afternoon, just lazing about, not working, flaunting their grass for all to see, their eyes all red and bloodshot. They reproduce like rabbits, so you can’t even know how many offspring are running around; who knows how many of them are squatting on that property. And no one has ever seen any of them leave the property and go to work.

You know who I’m talking about.

That’s right, you guessed it—wait, what? Seriously? Wow, I had no idea that you were such a racist. I’m very disappointed in you.

I’m talking about rabbits!

Yes, the house down the street has been colonized by a clutch of rabbits. As I was walking down the street a few days ago on my way to go jogging at the nearby track that I sneak in to through a hole in the fence (which they’ve simply just stopped repairing because someone—not me—always opens it up again), I looked in the yard of this abandoned house and realized that it was teeming with rabbits, all just sitting there munching on all the overgrown grass.

Now, you may not be familiar with Puerto Rican fauna, but we don’t just have feral rabbits running around. I mean, I was walking around and I saw all these white rabbits just chilling in that yard, my first thought was to look around for Alice and to wonder whether I’d done things I couldn’t recall when I’d been in San Francisco. But other than seeing those rabbits, everything else remained normal. I could not taste colors, I could not hear smells, my feet did not turn into angry marshmallow rhinoceroses, and my mother, who was with me at the time, could also see the rabbits (but then again, she’s probably an unreliable witness, because God only knows what she was getting up to during the late 60’s-early 70’s.).

My mother was thrilled to see those rabbits (perhaps because of a previous dalliance with a WHITE RABBIT? We may never know), but I respectfully disagree. These rabbits, I have concluded, are Bad for Puerto Rico, and possibly even Bad for America, like the show “24.” Here is just a brief list of why these rabbits need to go:

- They shit all over the place.
- They don’t pay taxes.
- They eat all our precious grass.
- Their eyes are creepy and red.
- They’re cute, and look really cuddly, but they fucking hate you.
- They’re bringing down property values.
- They’re for staying in Iraq indefinitely. (Seriously. Fucking neocon rabbits.)
- They taste delicious, yet they’re not on my dinner plate.
- Bugs Bunny was a terrorist whose reputation was rehabilitated by the powerful carrot lobby.
- My faithful dogservant Santiago wants to catch them but they are much too fast for him.

Moreover, I have photographic evidence that they are ruining the neighborhood. This is an actual picture what our neighborhood looked when we moved in here in the early 90’s:

Here's what it looks like now:

And what do you think was in that little baggie? I’ll give you a hint: who likes grass? Rabbits, that’s who.

Oh, if only Rudy Giuliani could come and save our fair city by fixing all the broken windows.


Adrian said...

rabbits in PR! No way! I now believe in spontaneous generation.

Anonymous said...

if santiago chases those rabbits, i reckon they get fucked...

Anonymous said...

An update on the Hacienda's newest neighbors. Approaching them from the West is ok, they munch on and they look at you without turning their heads, just moving their eyes, a look which our brain naturally abhors (reminds us of our reptilian origins). Approaching them from the East is not ok. They hide and freeze. Science should find out why. Also, I took two friends to see the rabbits, at night. Nothing. Now my friends think I hallucinate naturally. What would Jill Bolte say. Excellent essay, Don Paco, I might add. White Rabbit, personal favorite. For EVER. Go ask Alice. I think she'll know.

Anonymous said...

That may be because they're East-er rabbits, they have to assume a stuffed animal posture. Now, knowing very well the agonies of our economy, which has induced the best known local newspaper to suggest we make turnovers (empanadillas) filled with iguana meat, it should not be very wise to reproduce beyond a well controlled boundary. But, because the world will end on 2012 anyway, and everybody is advocating for raising its own food supply, I suppose it would not be bad at all for the Hacienda to start taking advantage of this unexpected, and possibly, everlasting blessing. That is, if we can avoid a rabbit-iguana confrontation in the near future. Rabbits taste like chicken, you know? In which case it would be also nice to investigate what exactly are they feeding on (mushrooms?).

But, beware, rabbits are far more dangerous that they seem (especially those that feed on mushrooms). Suffice to remember that cave monster from In Search of The Holy Grail.

And, BTW, congratulations on your new job Don Paco. You'll soon be hearing more salsa and reggaeton than ever in your life as the nostalgia sinks in.