I am not a big fan of winged creatures, and I’m not much for the scurrying variety either. If a mad scientist ever combined the two into one hideous creation, say, some bizarre kind of a flying mouse—oh, wait, that’s right, nature already has. It’s called a bat and despite my bat wing upper arms, I feel no affinity whatsoever with that creepy creature of the night.
I would have been quite happy limiting my lifetime bat exposure to the occasional bowl of Count Chocula, but Fate apparently had other plans for me. A few weeks ago I was staying with my daughter, who was eight months pregnant, to help with her toddler while her husband was out of town. The very first evening I arrived, I volunteered to do the laundry. I stopped just short of the door leading to the basement laundry room to give my daughter an impromptu shoulder rub in the hallway.
When she slowly drawled out, “M-o-o-o-m,” I thought it was in appreciation of my superb massage skills. But less than a half-beat later, she cried, “What is that?”
I looked down at the black, spindly “fingers” inching out from under the door to the basement stairs. We both stood paralyzed for a second as the fingers became wings and then the wings spread to reveal a furry head.
Before we could even scream in terror, the flying mouse was swooping from one end of the kitchen to the other. It’s possible we set a land speed record fleeing to the safety of the guest room. With that door slammed securely behind us, the standard sit-com plot of “pandemonium ensues” became our reality, complete with panicked screaming, loud cursing, and the spouting of wild solutions–including jumping out the window, calling an Uber and heading to a hotel. (We pretty much dismissed that idea out of hand since my granddaughter was asleep upstairs in her crib and it didn’t seem right leaving her to fend for herself.)
As neither of us had a nuclear arms dealer on speed dial, my daughter called her husband who, despite having provided the likely point of entry for the bat by leaving the garage door open, failed to acknowledge the urgency of our situation. He refused, for example, to notify the National Guard on our behalf, and instead instructed us in the official bat eviction protocol (which he later admitted he was making up on the spot). We were to turn off the all the inside lights, turn on the outside lights, open the doors and make noise, he explained.
“But, we’ll have to leave the guest room to do that!” I squealed, exposing the obvious flaw in his smarty pants plan.
“Just remember that the bat is more afraid of you than you are of it,” he replied.
“Not possible!” I screamed, as he was hanging up to return to the awards dinner he was attending.
My daughter put down her phone and transformed into a fierce bat warrior before my eyes. She, who was afraid of mushrooms as a child, put her hand firmly on the door knob and announced we were going into battle. I attribute this sudden streak of courage in the face of flying rodents to the extra estrogen coursing through her veins. As a hormonally-starved, post-menopausal woman, I could hardly be expected to show the same level of bravery, which I believe accounts for my cowering behind her pregnant belly as she swung open the guest room door.
We spied our unwelcome guest circling the living room, so I dashed to open the front door as my daughter ran to handle the back. We then quickly repaired to the safety of the guest room, cracking the door open just wide enough to monitor the situation. After several mad passes around the dining room, the beast finally flew toward the open back door, but—and seriously, what are the odds here?—just as it was about to exit, a random gust of wind slammed the door shut. Curses!
Riding an estrogen and adrenaline high, my daughter bolted from the guest room, ran out the front door and around the house to prop open the back door. As she was coming back around, she said she felt something swoosh by overhead. Back at home base, we both waited with bated breath, hoping the absence of flapping sounds meant the visitor truly had gone.