Bats driving me batty

Kristina Deckert

I’m pretty sure one flew into my head when I was sitting on the dock here in Chautauqua, N.Y., about a week ago. I also found one smashed on the ground of the newsroom where I work. I may have run it over with the wheel of my chair. When I left our front door open a few nights ago, one almost flew into our house. They are everywhere around here, these flying rats that are better known to the rest of the world as bats, and I hate them a whole hell of a lot.

The first weekend I was here in the beautiful bat-infested state of New York, my friends and I made our way down to the dock at the end of our street and spent most of the evening getting to know each other by the water. These flying rodents came out of the woodwork – no joke – and began to literally dive into the lake trying to catch bugs. Weird, right? I never knew bats were merely swooping hawks in black suits.

In subsequent nights, I spent a portion of most evenings outside communicating with Northeast Ohio via cell phone. I sat on our porch and heard them dancing around in our roof and talking to one other – and by talking, I mean screeching their little bat heads off. Then, they triggered their crazy bat sonar and zoomed out of the top of our house. Usually, I’m outside when this happens, and I scream like a little girl and either duck down and cover my head or grab the person next to me in panic.

There’s probably a reason why I don’t like bats more than the average person. I hate things that fly. Well, I don’t really hate all things that fly. I don’t hate birds. Or butterflies. I just hate ugly things that fly, such as bats, crows and vultures.

(Side note: As I write this, one of my co-workers walked into the newsroom and said there is currently a bat in the women’s bathroom. Point proven. They are everywhere. I can’t even pee in peace.)

My absolute favorite thing about bats is that they are blind. I discovered we have one bat living in our roof that may be blessed with an extreme lack of eyesight. It slams itself into the side of our house about 80 times per night because it can never find the little hole in our roof to crawl into; therefore, I get trapped outside because it often flies directly into the door. I’m always too scared to risk it flying into my hair or into the house.

Please don’t go commenting on this little column about how much bats do for the “betterment” of our world. I understand completely that they eat bugs and if bats didn’t exist, we would all get about a bazillion mosquito bites per day. I also realize that my situation could be worse. The bats that live here are pretty small; their wingspan is about six inches. I did my research, and apparently, bats’ wingspans can get up to six feet long. If I ever see one of these giant-winged bats, I will faint on the spot. I will never travel to South America, either, because blood-sucking “vampire” bats live there. It doesn’t matter that they suck the blood of other animals – not humans. I still refuse to go to South America for fear of encountering one.

We all have that one fear that seems completely irrational – the one that makes us duck down and scream or do something idiotic in order to avoid that said fear at all costs. My fear just happens to be living in my roof. And in the attic. And at work. And in the trees by the dock. And in the bathroom. And.

Kristina Deckert is a junior information design major and a columnist for the Summer Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].