In the middle of a bright, sunny weekday earlier this month, a bat flew into my small home office. The thoughts that followed riffled past like so many index cards in a library file cabinet, I thought I might just share the journey.
Thought 1: That’s a really big moth…batbaTbAT BAT! BAT! Ohmygod that’s a BAT! BAT! BAT! IT JUST HIT ME IN THE BACK! IT JUST DID IT AGAIN! AGGGGH!
(Note: the bat never once touched me, being fully engaged with battering itself against my “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster. It was the zipper of my jacket flapping against my back as I tore out of my office towards the upstairs at a pace that would have left Usain Bolt eating my dust.)
Thought 2: Where is my dog and why isn’t he addressing this? He’s a hunting dog, fer chrissakes, he chases rolling clods of dirt and he’s going to ignore a bat? Where is Achilles?
My adrenaline-fueled sprint enabled me to reach the living room upstairs and catch Achilles unawares where he was napping on the good couch in the living room. Allow me to translate his response: “Oh, uh, hey lady. I’m probably not supposed to be on the couch, right? I love you. I love you.”
Thought 3: Of course my husband is out of town. He’s ALWAYS out of town when there’s an Urban Wildlife Interface Incident. The redtailed hawk immolating itself on the power line behind the house and starting a brush fire; the time that two rat traps were sprung simultaneously in the spooky back storage area; the time a herd of turkeys walked regally through the front yard and caused Achilles, on the other side of the living room window, to suffer a permanent mental breakdown.
What was the movie on your flight to St. Louis, dear? Sorry about the message I left on your cell phone at this point in the adventure.
Thought 4: Who else’s husband can I borrow? I thought of all the dads in the ‘hood with home offices and remembered that two of the three now have to work in their corporate location due to work pressure – Thanks For Nothing, Recession! The third was probably traveling and, let’s be frank, would have been more horrified by the bat than I was.
Thought 5: If I don’t take care of this, we will never set foot on the lower floor again. Besides my home office, we have our laundry room, second bathroom, and our one TV down there. Clearly I was going to have to address this before the girls came home, or we’d never wear clean clothes, have a moment’s peace in the bathroom, or watch Glee again.
Thought 6: I am not scared of bats. It’s true; of all the pests, bats are the least frightening to me. They eat bugs and have built-in senses to avoid flying into me. At camp, I love watching them swoop in the twilight, and the bats are definitely the most bad-ass creatures at the Oakland Zoo (besides the Norteños and Sureños out on Sunday family outings.) Frankly, I’m more scared of birds. I can do this.
Thought 7: Rabies. Must protect myself. I went to the garage for a pair of gardening gloves. Because nothing says business to a bat like a pair of floral elbow length gloves tipped with geranium dirt.
Thus prepared, I crept back down to the office and peered behind the door I’d hastily slammed behind me during my retreat. There, clinging upside down to the curtain of a closed window, was a 3 inch long brown bat, smaller than the palm of my hand.
In order to free it, I had to somehow maneuver around the bat to open the window behind it and remove the window screen. At first I held my breath, waiting for it to fly at me in another panic. But it was so still, it looked like part of the pattern on the curtain. The window screen stuck and I had to tug at it with increasing vigor. The bat still didn’t move. When my elbow shot out and hit the curtain, and the bat continued to remain still, I felt bolder. I even shook the curtain a bit, covering my face with my gardening glove just in case. Nothing. That’s when I realized it was a Teenager Bat whose mother probably has to use an airhorn to get it moving in the morning.
With that, I stood RIGHT NEXT TO the bat, my face just inches away from it, and gave the screen a pop. Then, wielding the screen in a shield-like manner I learned from watching Game of Thrones on HBO last spring, I gave the curtain a big push and popped the bat, entirely unharmed, through the open window and watched it flit off into the trees. For Winterfell!
Thought 8: I am She-Ra, protector of my home and of small innocent creatures. Bow down.
Thought 9: Some days this blog just writes itself.