“How can you say you love all winged creatures and not like bats? They play a crucial role in our environment controlling insects and pollinating plants,” said my darling, but very self-righteous neighbor as she passed me her empty coffee cup to put in the sink. “Your fear of bats would disappear with a little education and understanding.”
“Look, Estelle, I grew up in the country and if they’d mind their own batty business and stay outside, I wouldn’t have a problem with them.” I retorted.
“I’m buying you some books.”
“I wish you wouldn’t. I know all about bats and I’m not afraid of the ones flying around outside, just the ones that come inside to attack me.”
“Bats don’t come inside to attack you,” she said, shaking her head at me on her way out the door, clearly sorry for the poor deluded human being standing in front of her. “If books don’t work, we can always try reconditioning you through psychotherapy. I have a cousin that specializes in helping people with phobias. We’ll talk more about this tomorrow.”
“Terrific,” I replied, closing the door behind Estelle. Knees sagging, I placed my back against the door for support.
I know that it’s completely irrational to believe that bats have it in for me, but I do. Bats send me to a very dark place where I am reduced to a sniveling incoherent puddle of insanity which normal people like Estelle fail to understand.
My first episode with a bat was not the one that scarred me. In fact, most country kids have a similar story. When I was ten, a little brown bat found its way into the upstairs bedrooms of the old parsonage in which my family lived. My sisters, brothers and I panicked and a shriek fest ensued while my father chased the bat back outside. He explained that the poor little creature had accidently found its way inside our house and assured us that the bat was more scared of us than we were of it.
My second encounter was when a bat accosted me from inside a toilet bowl at the tender age of twenty and it was the beginning of my undoing. I cannot begin to explain the terror that grips you when a tiny set of claws suddenly attaches to the back end of your bottom while you are locked into a tiny bathroom sitting on the throne. To say that I arose and freaked out would be an understatement.
Fast forward to the bat frantically swooping around the small enclosed area with me screaming and swatting at it. Somehow we both ended up tangled in a plastic curtain at the bottom of the shower stall with the little bat’s teeth mere inches from my face while the tiny creature emitted an incessant high-pitched screech. I’m not going to lie—I passed out cold.
I wish I could say that my clashes with bats ended there, but sadly, it was not to be the case.
The third time I was sitting in the hubster’s office coding some insurance claims when I heard an odd chattering and clicking sound coming from the closed attic door next to me. I watched in horror as a bat squeezed out of a dime-sized crack in the door jamb and flew straight at me. I screamed like a banshee and vacated the area tout de suite with my arms flailing wildly around me. Even though the hubster’s office manager assured me that the bat had been caught and relocated, I refused to code the entire next week.
The episode that drove me over the edge and guano loco (a polite way of saying bat poop crazy) happened late one fall night. I was lounging in bed and reading a darn good book when I thought I caught a shadow flitting by out of the corner of my eye. I glanced up from my book and scanned the room. Seeing nothing, I resumed reading.
The next thing I know, there is a squawking noise overhead and a small brown bat materialized out of thin air. Flying directly at me, it became ensnared in my long hair. I screamed until my throat was raw and clawed at my hair until the bat was free, but not before it nipped the top of my ear. At some point I got a window open and drove the creature out into the night.
Now, intellectually, I know the bat didn’t get tangled in my hair intentionally, and that it was a mistake on the bat’s part, but I get really annoyed with those who say that bats don’t fly into a person’s hair. I’m here to tell you, it happens people! It’s not a myth.
Most women take their hair down before they go to bed, but to this day I put mine in a ponytail before I go to sleep. I never go to the bathroom without thoroughly examining the inside of a toilet bowl either. I have been completely traumatized by bats and frankly I’m beginning to believe in vampires…but I hear that’s what happens when you go guano loco.