Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Back to Batless Life

Greetings from sweltering Brooklyn. Where the hell did all the chipmunks go?

Forgive any testiness. For all of my borough's strengths, including a world-class public park, it doesn't quite have this:

Brooklyn, for me, also has its share of what is commonly known as "real life" -- career issues, residency issues, issues issues. Of course, one thing Brooklyn doesn't have, at least not in a way I've had to confront, is bats. In our last night at a lake house upstate (we spent a few more days after that at a non-lake house), it was just about shut-eye time. Seconds before I was going to put down my book and turn off the light, a UFO entered the bedroom and circled it, gently fluttering, two or three times. We, not so gently, got the hell out of there. Of course, my exit would have been even less gentle (and here I picture George Costanza violently pushing past children and the elderly to escape a fire in a classic episode of "Seinfeld") if I had initially realized it was a bat and not a robin or sparrow. It was only after we secured the bedroom door and reached the living room to strategize that I thought about things: like, the bats we had seen swarming around a distant streetlight a couple of nights before, feasting on the bugs there; or one of our gracious hosts, who we had visited the day before, mentioning a problem with bats at the family's more rural houses.

Rather than boring you with the protracted story of how we got the critter out, I'll simply break it down to its essential details: patience, cowardice, standing outside in a light drizzle looking in at the bat, planning/stalling, darting into the room to open glass windowpanes, poking at the bat with a broom through a screen (aka "more cowardice"), popping open window screens from outside the house, patience, talking to the bat (mostly repeating things like "Fly out the open window, you idiot," and "You're disgusting.")

Eventually, he left. And after having watched him, at one point, crawl along the foot of the bed, we slept in the house's other bedroom. Because in conclusion, I'd like to say that bats are really, really gross. I gaze down at rats scurrying across subway tracks on a nearly daily basis (life in New York is just so damn pleasant), and bats have them beat. They're hairy and creepy like rats, but they also squeak in a chilling way, they have webbed wings that they poke around like stunted arms from hell, and they can fly at you. Game, set, match.


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