It Happened One Night
It was late. Linda was up having problems with her cough and I was watching TV in the bedroom with all the lights off. Our dog, Buddy, got into his mind that he needed to go outside, so I put on some clothes and carefully wound my way in the dark through the house to the sliding glass door that led to the back yard. I turned on the lights on the deck and Buddy and I spent a few minutes in the yard. I marveled at the moon, which was particularly bright and leaving shadows on the lawn, but the mosquitoes had found me and I encouraged Buddy to go back in. After I closed the sliding door and turned off the lights outside, I again carefully wound my way back to the bedroom. It was the only room with any light, which was coming from the television.
Linda was already back in bed when I slipped back in next to her and Buddy flopped back into his bed on the floor next to us. We were watching some documentary on Netflix and I was about to ask Linda if she thought she could get to sleep yet. Then it happened.
Something. Something big. It flew past the light of the TV screen, around the room a couple of times and back out the door of the bedroom and into the hallway. There was only one thing flew like that that I had ever seen. It was a bat!
We were well aware that there were bats in the neighborhood. We had even put up a bat house on our tallest tree to give them a place to stay during the day, but we rarely saw them. Now I was seeing one up close. Too close.
It was obvious to me that a bat had followed Buddy and I in from the yard when the sliding door was open. The only window that was open (in our bedroom) had a screen. Now we had bat frantically flying back and forth down our hallway.
It’s wingspan was well over a foot, but it did a good job of avoiding obstacles (like me) and didn’t run into any of the walls. I turned on some lights so that I could see better where it was. It kept flying back and forth from the living room and down the hall. Sporadically it would duck into one of the rooms off the hallway and then emerge to fly back to the living room. It kept flying constantly and did not settle on any furniture or other objects in the rooms. Even when I was in the hallway, the bat had no trouble flying right past me. This was unnerving even though I had no hair to tangle with. I didn’t have any idea what to do.
I needed a plan. I went to the dining area off the living room and opened the sliding door to the yard wide open. Maybe the bat would “see” the door and make his escape. But every time the bat swirled around the living room, it made no effort to go out the open door. After a few rounds, I decided I needed to restrict his access to our rooms and realized that I had better close up the kitchen before he found the basement and got lost down there. One by one I closed all the doors, making sure the bat was elsewhere. The bat kept flying down the hall, but now there were no rooms left down there to explore. He could not get into the kitchen (and the basement) and could only fly around the living room and the dining area where the sliding door stood open. Still the bat showed no sign that he saw the open door and kept up his flying back and forth down the hall and back into the living room.
Reluctantly, I decided I needed to provide some “guidance” for this critter. I stood in the living room and when the bat entered the dining area (where the door was) I would wave my arms to deter him from coming back into the living room and down the hall again. This did not work. The bat simply avoided me like I was some sort of animated stalagmite and went on his way. I needed more drastic steps. I pulled a broom from out of the hallway closet and used that as an extension of my arms. This was more effective. Using this longer reach, I could place the broom directly in the path of the bat and I was able to corral the bat into just the living room and dining area.
The frustrated bat kept looping around the room, trying to get back into the hallway and I kept blocking his access. This went on for some time, like some weird sort of tennis game until finally the bat darted out the open sliding door and out into the darkness. I closed the door (and locked it). I opened up all the interior doors again and turned out all the lights. Linda and Buddy were still watching television and life went back to normal as if nothing had happened at all.