Sunday, August 06, 2006

We Hardly Knew Ye

That's it, I've vanquished the bat.

First it required finding her. This happened by accident when I looked out the front window. Wait a sec, I thought, what's that dark thing behind the curtain?

Ah yes, Claudine. And her guano.

She was here a week, and this is her first photo op. Mostly because I found her at a decent hour.

But how to get rid of her? Step one was bat proofing the apartment: shutting Freya in the bedroom, closing the basement door, opening the apartment door, turning on the vestibule light, opening the front doors, turning off all the lights but those in the living room and vestibule.

And then I sat in the living room and stared at her. She didn't move. Though she did appear to be staring back.

Then I got the bright idea that if I unwound a hanger, I could hook the bottom of the curtain and shake it a bit, whereupon she would wake up, come to her senses, and fly outside.

Well. I was right in that I could hook the curtain and shake it from several feet away, but there was no sense coming to. She moved her head back and forth several times, and I tried to believe it was a confused, rather than malevolent, head shake.

I gave up. It seemed the bat needed to be caught and removed. Fuck me. David Scrimshaw, who lives close and had gallantly offered his bat removal services, wouldn't be back till Monday. So I very sheepishly called the fearless Steve, who lives further away but is speedy on his bike, to come and take care of it. Not home. Should I call a bat removal service? At least $50. Which my landlord would pay, because I'd make him, but still. The thought of paying someone a fair amount of money to do what I should damn well be able to do myself was too galling to contemplate seriously.

A flashbulb! She's cozy behind that curtain! Expose her to light, take more flash pictures! Shine a flashlight in her eyes! Sing Wolf Parade really loud!*

To no avail.

I sat back again, and thought about my quandary. What I needed was a big thick towel to throw over and trap her in. But the towels were in a different room. Hmm, some kind of thick fabric, strong, maybe embroidered, maybe lined, maybe... green and covering my windows?

It all went quickly from there. I moved all the crap out of that corner, pushed the chair up against the window sill. I took the bottom of the curtain and twisted it, rolling her up tight inside, then tied the curtain off with an RCA cable I'd found in my desk. Standing on the back of the chair and the window sill, I held the top of the curtain closed, unhooked it, and off we all went outside.

She was nonplussed when I unrolled the curtain on the front lawn. Just lay there waiting for something else bad to happen, I'm sure.

The something else came when I started poking the underside of the curtain with the coat hanger again. She squeaked and backed up fast into that fold there. I used the curve of the hanger to unfold it, and poked the underside of the curtain some more.

I did try to get a picture of her flying away. And I suddenly wished I'd been listening to Frog Eyes all along: it was definitely an uplifting moment, and I felt vindicated for us both.

*That last part was just to make me feel better.


Amanda said...

Congratulations! I've been following your bat chasing in vicarious fear. There's a poignancy here too. Living along isn't easy after being used to living with another. You're doing great. What will you conquer next? Inquiring minds want to know ;) I still rememember making lasagna for the first time on my own (at the age of 35!) in my very first apartment as a singleton. The top layer was all dry because I'd run out of sauce and didn't have any aluminum foil. I removed the top layer of noodles and warmed my dish through in the microwave, saying 'to hell with it, i'll make lasagna stew!'

David Scrimshaw said...

I'm really glad for you that you handled the bat so well.

I don't mean to alarm you but, in my experience, "catch and release" with bats sometimes is not effective because bats are a lot like homing pigeons.

Even without the "release", bats are also like Italians, they usually live with a bunch of relatives.

Asteroidea Press said...

What will I conquer next? Well, I did think Claudine was possibly a tarantula, so maybe giant spiders. Though according to David, I may be tackling Claudine's first cousin.

But thank you, Amanda, for the lasagna stew story - I will think of that the next time I fuck up a recipe.

I wish I could thank you David, but instead, I shudder.