Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Bats in the Belfry
I think I have a bat colony living in my apartment building.
Clue #1: An actual bat emerged from my laundry room one night last week and flew like a, um, bat out of hell across my living room. BAM! He ran into my bookshelf and fell to the floor. (That blind as a bat business is no lie.) I crept close to see if he was dead; he didn't move. I poked him with a broom--he squeaked--NOT DEAD! Ahhhhh! I opened the balcony door, and once he had recovered from his daze, I persuaded him to crawl outside. (Translation: I beat the floor beside him with a broom and yelled "Get Out Damn Bat!" à la Lady Macbeth at the top of my voice until he inched his way out. This barefoot and in me nightie at 11pm.) In the morning, he was gone, having I assume recovered and flown away. And I cardboarded and duct-taped the place where I think he came from, a crevice around the washer hook-up. Told the nice lady in the leasing office as a heads-up, thought he was probably a loner, and went to HNS, forgot the whole thing.
Clue #2: Just now I went into my bathroom and switched on the light. Commotion behind the wall that sounds a lot like squeaking bats. Ahhhh! They can't get in, I know that (thank you duct tape), but it's freaky deaky! I have called leasing office and nice lady is getting the Critter Master (yes, that's his name) out here asap to check it out. I'm on the third floor, so it is possible bats got into the attic somehow and have taken up residence. My complex abuts wetlands, and apparently loads of fruit-bats live in the mangroves. Nice. Am hoping they go back to sleep and do not squeak any more.
So what the heck does this have to do with van Gogh? Why, he painted a bat once (click on image to enlarge), and I've been looking for an excuse to post this fairly well-known picture. It's actually a stuffed bat that he might have seen in a fellow artist's curio collection in Holland. The painting, known as "Flying Fox," dates from autumn 1885 based on the style and color palette. I was intrigued to note while finding an online image that the CDC used this painting on the cover of a 2002 journal on infectious diseases involving, you guessed it, bats. Luckily -- despite the array of prehistoric wildlife that live in my adopted state of Florida -- this is NOT the kind of bat currently co-habitating with me. Wee three-inch fuzzy critters is more like it. But they need to bat it, um, beat it. Asap!