Friday, May 8, 2009

Bat Crazy

I was at a Jr/Sr High Ministry team meeting yesterday and somehow we got on the topic of bats. Not the wooden kind that you use to hit a baseball, but the furry kind that fly and have sharp teeth and rabies. One of the people at this meeting knows how much I dislike bats. The others might not have been as aware. So I had to share my stories as to why I don't like them. Then I realized that I haven't posted these stories on this blog, yet, and some people who read this might not know them. And I like to share my stories with people! Now, some of you might have heard these stories before. But I like to share my stories multiple times!

All of these stories take place my senior year of seminary. I was living in the residence hall, which was part of the main buildings on campus, which are all connected. Although recently renovated, these buildings are old, and connected to a tall bell tower. So, of course, there are bats in the buildings.

One day I was doing laundry. The laundry room in the residence hall is located in the basement of the building. I was going to check to see if my load of laundry was done, so I pushed open the door and entered the stairway. That's when something fluttered to the ground but not before brushing me on the head on its way down. I glanced to see what it was. It was a bat. And it was now curled up on the ground. That's when I let out a scream-yelp type thing (that was very manly I assure you), ran down the stairs and out of the building. When I got outside, I saw my friend Mike walking toward the family housing. "Mike!" I shouted, as I ran over to him. "You will NOT guess what just happened!!!" He didn't guess, so I told him. I think I was hoping for him to offer to come and help me extract that bat from the building. Instead, he said, "That's too bad. See ya later." and continued his walk home. As I stood outside, I realized that I couldn't just leave that bat there. I needed to do something to get it out of the building. So I mustered up the little amount of courage that I could find, walked back inside, saw the bat on the floor and walked back to my room. Once there, I grabbed a sweatshirt and headed back to the stairway. Since it was still day outside, and the stairway was well lit, the bat was not very active and hadn't moved at all from where it had landed after hitting me in the head. So I walked over to the bat, placed the sweatshirt on top, and scooped it up. At that moment, this very inactive bat decided to become a very active one, and it began chirping like crazy. I tried to hurry down the one flight of stairs that was separating me holding this bat from me being bat free, but somewhere in the middle of the staircase, that crafty little devil managed to squeeze out of the sweatshirt and began flying in frantic circles in the stairway. At this point, I started making many more noises similar to the one I had previously made, as I ducked and crawled up the staircase to get away from this upset and confused bat that was flying in circles and, according to my panicking brain, trying to divebomb me. I made it back up to the door to my hallway as the bat flew up the stairs and disappeared from my sight. At that point I determined that both the bat and I were sufficiently traumatized, so I was not going to pursue it anymore.

The second story happened a week or two before I was moving out of seminary to head up here to Minnesota. I was sitting at my desk in my room, checking my e-mail on the computer when I heard a noise. Tic-tic-tic... I turned to see what it was, but all I saw was my dorm fridge. It had been known to make weird noises, so I was not concerned. I turned my attention back to the computer. Then I heard the noise again, but it seemed to be closer. So I turned and looked again and saw a bat crawling across some papers that I had on the floor. I'm pretty sure I made a noise similar to those others, and my mind began racing as to what I needed to do. So, acting in a purely rational manner, I tossed a sweatshirt on top of the bat and ran out of the room. Halfway down the hall it occurred to me that that probably wasn't the best decision, as now there was a bat in my room and I was not. At least when we were both in the room I could monitor where it was. Now, if it got out from under the sweatshirt, it could be just about anywhere. So I walked back into the room to see the bat climbing to the top of the sweatshirt. I knew that the quicker I acted the sooner the bat would be gone, so I grabbed another sweatshirt (luckily I happen to have a lot of hoodies) and tossed it on top of the bat and the other sweatshirt. Then, without allowing myself to think about what I was actually doing, I scooped up both sweatshirts and bolted for the door. I made it out onto the back steps where two other students were chatting. I leaned over the edge of the stairs and shook the bat loose from the sweatshirts. It fluttered to the ground and laid in a small heap on the grass in the sun. One of those fellow students came over and said, "What happened?" I told her that this bat was in my room. So, calmly and compassionately (sort of the antithesis of how I had been acting up to that point) the fellow student took one of my sweatshirts, carefully picked the bat up and walked it over to a shady spot by the trees and laid it on the ground in a safe place. I quickly retrieved my sweatshirt and ran inside and threw them in the laundry.

My third story takes place just around a week after my second one. It was late, I had been spending a lot of my time packing hoping to be ready to load stuff in the U-Haul truck which I had reserved to move out of Iowa and into Minnesota (that's another story entirely). My room was starting to look bare, and I was physically tired and emotionally drained from saying good-bye to good friends. I was sitting in my room at the computer, once again, when I heard a noise and saw something out of the corner of my eye. I turned and looked into the little hallway in my room, to see what it was. Nothing happened for a few seconds, but then a bat flapped against the wall, and rose up a couple feet from the ground. This time I did not make any screamy/yelpy noises, but I think I said something like, "Are you %@$^ $$% &&%#% $@#$% **&^^% KIDDING ME?!?!" I didn't think that I had it in my being to handle something like that right at that moment, so I picked up the phone and called my friend Shana. "You will not believe this." I said into the phone. "What?" Shana asked, probably thinking I had something fun or exciting to share with her. "There's a bat in my room!" After a brief conversation, Shana said she would come up from the apartments and help me take care of this bat. So a few moments later she came into my room, and we figured out what we needed to do. I suppose I should tell you that until Shana arrived in my room, I was perched on a chair wieldng my tennis racket should the bat get any ideas. When she got there we took a small box and placed it over top of the bat, who was now lying still. Then we took an empty cereal box I had in the room and flattened it and slid it under the box and the bat. That's when the bat started to get active and to chirp and to move around. As we made our way to the back door, the bat tried to escape, and it's wings kept slipping out in between the box on top and the cereal box. Thankfully we made it outside without the bat escaping and we set it free. It flew around in circles for a few times and then raced off. As we were throwing away the boxes, we noticed that the cereal box happened to be for Boo Berry cereal, which has bat shaped marshmallows. We thought it was quite fitting.

So those are the stories I shared with the ministry team yesterday. I have to admit, though, that they are better in person because there are actions and noises that accompany them. But those are a few of the stories as to why I don't like bats and have considered them to be my archnemesis for the past several years.

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