Saturday, June 6, 2009

Dispatch From The Belfry


Night before last, I felt something crawling on my back and discovered a largish ant in bed with me. He seemed to be working solo, but I couldn't imagine what an ant was doing there, and even after I took care of the offender, I felt kind of itchy all night. What next? I thought. Rhetorically, I assumed.

Then last night, as I was trundling off to bed, Dave mentioned that it sounded like our cat Tater was having one of her standard epizootics in our bedroom. If this had occurred during the reign of our previous cat Larry, we would have concluded she was on High Moth Alert. But with Tater, it was more likely to be a random firing of her rambunction gene. I headed upstairs, walked into the bedroom and flipped on the light.

BAT. Bat bat bat. Giant bat doing laps in the airspace. Now, I like bats. In context. The context being outdoors. I love to watch them swing through the air like a celebration of twilight. I once saw one in the zoo hanging upside down and entertaining himself in a most enthusiastic manner. It was something.

With the bat in my bedroom, however, I lost all decorum. I went all 1950s-sitcom-wife over the thing. I hit the carpet like (as I later discovered) guano, and yelled the same thing over and over again (a major religious figure plus a salty adjective). Bats have very acute hearing and possibly demure sensibilities as well, and this couldn't have been pleasant for it. I'm not proud of my reaction, and it's hard to justify it when you see the photograph I took of our wayward mammal. She's all folded up just like a little wallet, but airborne, I am here to tell you, she has the wingspan and demeanor of a pterodactyl. Dave came to the rescue and tried to encourage her out the window, but she was not persuaded. Instead she flew into the closet and hung herself up somewhere on his clothing (gabardine, rayon, cotton, bat, flannel), making extraordinary little scolding noises, rattling like a string of beads. Among the things Dave did that I was incapable of doing at that point was to lean into his shirts and blow on them ("I didn't want to hurt the bat").

Ultimately, Dave managed to coax the bat into flapping around the room again and he nabbed her with a short-handled fishing net, stepping nimbly around my prostrate form. He mused later that it would have made more sense to open all the windows, turn out all the lights and shut the door, and the bat would have found her own way out. And she probably would have, too, but if I hadn't seen her exit, I would never have gone to bed or changed my clothes again.

It's entertaining, being in a room with a bat and a black cat, but it's not restful. I had to eat a whole bowl of eyeballs just to settle down.

14 comments:

  1. please please please tell me there's video. the picture is hilarious enough, but i wanna see the action.

    way back in the day, when i first moved to san francisco, i moved into a tenderloin ghetto apt w/my friend bill & was disturbed from my murphy-bed rest in the wee hours by a scuttling mouse. my adult male response was to grab a skillet and stand atop my murphy bed and "scream like a white woman," to quote little richard.

    i'm not real proud of this.

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  2. LOL! I hope the bat was OK after being trapped with a huge, pale, flailing creature screaming demonic obscenities like that.

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  3. LMAO! I'd like to see the action, too, but a video isn't necessary. I wonder how many hours it took for you to settle down and sleep? I think I would have been calm but my tough looking husband would have been screaming like a girl.

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  4. Rosemary LombardJune 7, 2009 at 8:16 AM

    Great story, Murr!
    When I was eight or so, I brought home an injured--or at least traumatized--bat who had run into the fire escape slide at the school. (How can an animal with a sophisticated echo location system run into a huge tube of metal? I don't know.)
    I didn't expect any demonic screaming from my mother, and I was right; she was calm and concerned, helping me to settle it into a nice softly lined shoebox for the night. The next morning, though, it had disappeared and couldn't be found, though no windows had been left open. I always suspected that my mother, in spite of her sweet nature, had played a perfidious role in that disappearance. But even decades later, she maintained her innocence. Perhaps the bat was smarter than any of us and found its own way out.

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  5. Your blog is so funny and delightful! I hope you do write that book Julie Zickefoose is urging. I would buy it in a heartbeat!

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  6. Thanks! I've written it! Send me an agent or a publisher! (Who knew writing it would be the easy part?)

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  7. there are special agencies to help BATtered women. obviously you need help. good luck!

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  8. Thank you, Oh Bat for choosing these particular humans to visit so that we could all laugh hysterically.

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  9. wow!! Eyeballs! who knew? Far too funny for this early in this morning! And I'll buy a few copies of your book too!

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  10. wow!! Eyeballs! who knew? Far too funny for this early in this morning! And I'll buy a few copies of your book too!

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  11. Rosemary LombardApril 5, 2011 at 3:30 PM

    Great story, Murr!
    When I was eight or so, I brought home an injured--or at least traumatized--bat who had run into the fire escape slide at the school. (How can an animal with a sophisticated echo location system run into a huge tube of metal? I don't know.)
    I didn't expect any demonic screaming from my mother, and I was right; she was calm and concerned, helping me to settle it into a nice softly lined shoebox for the night. The next morning, though, it had disappeared and couldn't be found, though no windows had been left open. I always suspected that my mother, in spite of her sweet nature, had played a perfidious role in that disappearance. But even decades later, she maintained her innocence. Perhaps the bat was smarter than any of us and found its own way out.

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  12. LMAO! I'd like to see the action, too, but a video isn't necessary. I wonder how many hours it took for you to settle down and sleep? I think I would have been calm but my tough looking husband would have been screaming like a girl.

    ReplyDelete
  13. LOL! I hope the bat was OK after being trapped with a huge, pale, flailing creature screaming demonic obscenities like that.

    ReplyDelete