The last time I encountered a bat in a house was 1988. I may be off by a year in either direction but that’s pretty close because my family was living in a particular house (a duplex from the 1800s) in a little ol’ town in South Jersey.
We noticed the bat hanging from some curtains in the front room. Mom hurried my sister Z and I into the middle room (it was one of those long, narrow places with many stories of three rooms, arranged front-to-back), called one of her brothers since Dad was unavailable, and then we waited. Mom and her bro used a broom and a trashcan to take care of the bat. I have no memory of whether it was killed or released. Just that this was a chase fraught with tension and a significant level of fear. Bats are tricky.
Last night I had my second bat-in-the-house experience, this time at a friend’s house out in the boonies. We’re sitting at her dining room table, working on some web stuff. Her youngest boy is watching HIS shows – blissfully unhampered by his older brother who is away with dad. Friend and I are chatting away when suddenly she stops, grabs my arm firmly and states,
There’s a bat in my house.
I look around and, sure enough, catch a glimpse of a bat circling into the next room. I turn back to my friend and say, “I need a broom and a trashcan.”
She starts to rise but stops midway up and commands me, with the kind of presence and authority only a terrified mother can muster, “You have to kill it.”
She then rushes into the farthest room in the house, bringing her son with her. I get a broom, a trashcan, and eventually a sheet to block off one doorway that has no door. Then I go to work.
I took a life.
I’m not going to go into details other than to mention that I said, “I’m sorry” to the bat about 15 times. It was traumatic – bats are noisy creatures even in the best of times, and this was not a good night for the bat.
My final notes on the subject are as follows:
- the broom was necessary
- the trashcan was not necessary
- a tennis racquet might be less traumatic (for me)
- this was a terrible week at work and beating something to death, though traumatic, was highly cathartic