Bat girl

When we last saw our hero, she was standing begrudgingly in a corner, protecting her face and praying that the winged creature of the night would find the wide-open door across the room from her. But alas, it flew into a dark back room to find, she assumed, a corner of its own, and she sighed with relief and relaxed her tensed muscles a bit thinking her worries were over, at least for the night…

I stayed still for a good five minutes before becoming convinced that batty wasn’t gonna budge. I closed the patio door and put on the security bar. I brushed my teeth in the downstairs bathroom (the upstairs bathroom was still under construction). I grabbed the sheets that were in the dryer from my last visit. I turned off the lights and went upstairs. All was quiet. I made the bed. I started unpacking. I went to set a bottle of water and the book I was reading (White Teeth by Zadie Smith) on the bedside table, and then I heard it again. That weird squeaky noise. Damn!

I turned around and there it was, right there in the bedroom with me. It must have been attracted by the light or by the noise – maybe it wanted company. I thought bats liked dark places and quiet, but it obviously wasn’t content downstairs in the darkness of that back room. So now what do I do? Here in the bedroom it had much less swooping space. Its new circuit became: one swoop around the room clockwise, then a brief landing on the ceiling in that classic upside-down bat posture, then off again for a swoop.

I had to do something. I didn’t want to kill the poor thing; I decided to catch it. But all I had at hand was a pillow case. I didn’t very well want to use my nice clean sheets, and after all I needed the sheet to hide under. Yes, there I was, even more ridiculous than before, a grown woman hiding under a sheet with a pillowcase in her hands making lame attempts to scoop this bat out of the air as it circled the room. The bat’s wingspan was of course a problem. It wasn’t that big was it wasn’t moving, but in flight its wings stretched at least a foot or so – much too wide for the reach of my measly pillowcase.

After a while I think it started getting tired of being chased and went to hiding behind the curtain. Well that was no good. I couldn’t possibly go to sleep knowing there was a bat in the room – that just wasn’t going to happen. So, making sure my hair and face were well protected under the sheet, I used the pillowcase to slap at the curtain, thus wrangling the bat out of its hiding spot. Did you know that bats can actually fly along the ground? I didn’t! It’s the weirdest thing to see and the freakiest if you’re not expecting it. I was protecting my head, not my feet, and here is this bat somehow coming out of the curtain while skimming along the carpet before once again taking flight and starting the whole thing all over again.

I was exasperated. I was never going to catch it, but it just wouldn’t leave. This all went on for a good half hour. Maybe more. I started talking to it. I yelled and cursed it. I called it names, then tried to be coy, tried to persuade it with reason. I tried both English and French. It was clueless. I was clueless. Finally, I had a new idea. I went out into the hall and turned on a light. I called to it. When it didn’t come I went back into the bedroom and slapped at it again with the pillowcase and then went back into the hallway. When it ultimately came out many minutes later, I rushed back into the bedroom and closed the door. Ha! Or rather, whew! Unbelievable.

The next morning I put on a pot of coffee and opened the patio door again. Within no time batty was out running track but this time, it found the door in seconds flat. Closing the screen door to keep the creatures out but let the morning air in, I stood there with my coffee cup watching as batty familiarized itself once again with its freedom, did a couple of laps around the yard, and fluttered out of sight.

Jenny Beaumont

Jenny Beaumont is an Agile Coach and the Director of Delivery at Human Made, makers of Altis DXP. She speaks at conferences around the world (ok, these days only on zoom), and is a former lead organizer of WordCamp Paris and WordCamp Europe.

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