A bat in the belfry

Renegade chickens, bully cockroaches and now this. It wasn’t enough that I arrived on-time a day early, thinking it was Friday as it would have been had I been traveling West to East and not the opposite. But no, it was Thursday, silly me. Otherwise the trip went fine me being somewhat of a veteran of turbulence and airport security. I couldn’t bring myself to ask for a ride after my time zone screw-up, and decided instead to follow the trip through like a true scout, winding up in a taxi with a tattooed comrade of a driver with whom I could be chatty, feeling less alone and once again a part of the club.

I was feeling pretty good when Mark-the-tattooed-taxi-driver dropped me off at the front door of the lake house for a few nickels shy of the cost of the taxi ride from my Paris abode to the Charles de Gaulle airport. Silliness subsided it was time to take stock, starting with a key to the house lying visibly in the window next to the font door. Not starting well. That first door was, at least, locked, and I continued in through the garage to the second door which, to my dismay, wasn’t. What else is waiting for me? The ceiling light had been left on and the security bar on the patio door was on the floor not serving its purpose. Real estate agents, humpf. Ultimately no damage done…hey, what was that?

I heard it first and knew somehow instinctively though not from experience what it was. When unexpectedly confronted with a member of the animal kingdom, more especially those unfamiliar and unwelcome creatures of the night, most of us go through several phases of assimilation: Surprise, questions, and sometimes panic.
Surprise: Oh my God! There’s a fill-in-the-blank!
Questions: Will it attack? Is it contagious? Will it jump on my face or get in my hair? How do I get rid of it?
Panic: Oh my God! There’s a fill-in-the-blank!

It wasn’t a particularly big bat, nor did I really think that it would attack, bite or try to use my hair to build some kind of bat nest. I’m sure, actually, that it was just as unhappy as I was that it was in the house. But there it was. It was in the house. Shit. As it swooped around the open space I made my way to the patio door and opened it wide. Then I stood there feeling silly again. No matter how convinced you are that the damn thing isn’t going to attack, you’re still really protective of your face, aren’t you? Come on, I know I’m not alone on this one. At each wide, graceful swoop, I couldn’t help but think it was headed right for me. It swooped and it swooped, making grand circles around the living room, at first high up, then down low, then continuing through and under the balcony within inches of the open patio door, but just not somehow leaving through it. It swooped back into the back room and within seconds would be back starting its circuit all over again. Bats have an amazing mechanism for evaluating and navigating space and volume. Not once did it even vaguely come close to crashing into me or anything else, but no matter how convinced I am that it was not happy in the house, it just didn’t register that open door. I stood in the corner watching it running track for a good 15 minutes until finally, poof – it disappeared into the darkness of the back office and stayed. Or so I thought.

To be continued…