Friday, January 28, 2011

A bat, some duct tape, and rabies

A few summers ago, I was living in a dumpy apartment with my roommates Suzie and Allie. This apartment was total dump. There was no air conditioner or swamp cooler. The screens didn't fit in the window and there were huge Box Elder trees surrounding the building. With Box Elder trees come Box Elder bugs. Now if you've never seen Box Elder bugs... well you're not missing anything. They're these pesty little bugs with black, gray, and orangey stripes. They look scarier than they are. They're mostly annoying.

So we had this influx of Box Elder bugs getting into our apartment through cracks in the windows and the door. They were EVERYWHERE. In the livingroom, in the kitchen, in the bathroom, in all the bedrooms. It was horrible. We suffered through a few weeks of this before I got fed up. I bought some duct tape and went to work.

I taped around the screens, sometimes using multiple layers as a precaution. I taped over some of the random cracks and holes in the walls (it really was a dump). I taped that apartment up using half of the roll of duct tape in the process. The good news is that about 95% of the Box Elder bugs we previously had disappeared. There were still some that got past the barriers but they were bearable.

 Fast forward a couple of months and summer is waning. It was getting cooler at night. I determined that it was time to remove the duct tape. I spent the afternoon peeling off layers of duct tape covered in Box Elder bug carcasses. I started in the livingroom and worked my way to my bedroom, which I'd saved for last. It was dark by now. One roommate was asleep in her room and the other was gone. It was me and a garbage bag full of stiff duct tape covered in dead bugs. I started pulling the tape off. It was the same thing, dead bugs.

At the top of the scree there was a huge dent in the metal that framed the screen leaving a huge hole at the top of the metal. This was my last place. I was almost finished. I reached up and peeled it away. I was going to shove it in the bag when something large and furry caught my eye. I shrieked loudly and dropped the long piece of tape and stared down in horror.

Was that a... tarantula? I shrieked again, my heart pounding hard in my chest. I ran from the room seeking a bigger bag and a pair of rubber gloves. The two thoughts that were running my head were: How did a tarantula crawl up to a second story window? and What is a tarantula doing this far north? (I don't know a lot about this giant spider but I'm pretty sure it doesn't like Northern Utah- I could be wrong though.)

I entered my room warily worried that maybe there was a nest of spiders just outside my window. I approached the tape and reached for it. I glanced at the brown blob of furriness. My brow wrinkled (or at least I think it did) as I studied the 'tarantula'. This wasn't a spider. It was a bat! A dead, wrinkled up bat! I hurried and shoved it into the bag and shuddered. Was I going to get rabies?! Did this mean that bats were nearby? How did a bat get stuck on my duct-taped window screen? EW!!

Then the thought occurred to me, what if I hadn't had duct tape around my window screen? Would a bat have flown through my window and flapped around my room... with me in it? I shuddered again, grateful for my rubber gloves. I reached for the extra garbage bag I'd brought with me and hurriedly shoved the bag containting the bat inside. I rushed from my room for the second time in less than 5 minutes. I was headed for the dumpster on the edge of the parking lot. I gladly dumped the bags in and shuddered again. Ew.

Now that my terrible deed and my adventure was over I wanted to share it. But there was nobody to tell. Not at the moment. I washed my hands twice and stared at the window, still contemplating what would have happened if that bat had gotten into my bedroom.

And now, my biggest regret is that I didn't take a picture. But because of my reaction, I was not in any coherent mindset to think ahead. So now I'm forced to think behind and chuckle at my own reaction to such a low key and not really disgusting episode. And there was no way I was going to get rabies by touching the tape that a dead bat was stuck to.

So there you go. That's my adventure involving a bat, some duct tape, and rabies (no rabies were really involved- that's just a product of my own imagination.). Hope you got a chuckle out of it.

Until next time.

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