Zoder: Incident with bats no laughing matter

Jun. 08, 2013 @ 11:06 PM

Things turned batty around our house the other day. Literally.

As we were reading quietly in the evening, after putting the kids down, my husband and I suddenly saw this bat flying around our room. It was a big one, too. At least 18-inch in wingspan and possibly one pound in weight.

After the initial shock, we quickly scrambled to close the door so we could isolate him from the rest of the house. The bat flew into the shower from the top and got stuck there.

I ran to fetch a big plastic bowl with a lid while my husband threw a towel over the bat to pin it down. My husband got the bat into the bowl gently, put the lid on, then released it in our backyard. The bat flew in circles above our house, then disappeared out of sight. Talk about upward mobility.

Now this is where I draw the line. I am willing to share my backyard with bears, raccoons, opossums, squirrels, deer and, apparently, bats, but not my house.

This incident really shook my inner peace. One thinks of one's home as of a sanctuary, a haven of rest from the world and its issues. Which is another reason not to turn on the TV and invite the chaos back in ... but that is a different topic and I will get off my soap box after exactly one example.

My children and I were watching the National Spelling Bee the other week and at least one commercial contained sexual innuendos. Which begs the question: Did the TV execs not realize that young children watch this program? Have they completely lost their sensitivity as to how much exposure they allow their young audience to adult situations? Enough said.

Back to the bat.

We figured the only way it got in is through the door, because the windows we open have screens. So now, when we open the door, our heads must create a new habit. We no longer have to inspect the ground only, but also the sky.

In my book, bats are mice with wings and I can't stand mice. Hence, I did not even want to look at this bat or take a picture.

Most Americans I know can't handle spiders. Spiders don't scare me. Mice, on the other hand, are a different story. And bats are mice on steroids, so to speak.

A few years ago, during my first visit to Gatlinburg, I was eager to take back a good report of fantastic adventures. In front of a store, I spotted a sign which read “Rare white bats.”

An arrow pointed upward next to that sign. In spite of my spite for bats, I felt compelled to look up. Who doesn't want to see a rare white bat, right?

Some of you might remember those bats. Not sure how rare they were, but they sure were white and they sure were bats. Baseball bats. The incident gave me a good chuckle.

Sadly, the sign or the bats are no longer there, but plenty of other things are, so keep walking around downtown Gatlinburg. You never know what you will find.

— Adriana Zoder, who was born in Romania, is an American citizen living with her husband and two children in Gatlinburg.Email to aezoder@gmail.com.