Sunday, November 21, 2010

Terrorized by the local wildlife...

I hate my apartment building.

Pretty, no?  It was built in 1875 and has tin ceilings and some really cool light fixtures.


It is infested with wild animals. 

In the two years I've lived here, I have been "involved" with no less than 6 bats and 38 centipedes, and have also been hounded by squirrels (whom I now refer to as "tree rats") scampering inside the walls and ceilings at all hours of the day and night, every season.  Landlord insists "there's nothing he can do."   (You know, except tape evangelical greeting cards to my door and keep raising my rent.)   

I'm moving when my lease is up next September.

Yesterday (Saturday) morning I started my homework around 9am (no joke) because I have a huge paper due very soon.  Minutes after I sat down at my computer with my bowl of Honey Grahams, I heard the unmistakably sharp chirps and screeches of yet another bat.  It was LOUD, like the thing was hiding out just a few feet from me.  The sound was coming from a corner, behind a large wooden free-standing cabinet-thingey I use to store books.  This bat sounded quite upset, like he was really in a jam, possibly injured.  Oh, I'd have to be responsible for rescuing the little sucker, when I am completely t e r r i f i e d of bats.  Great!  Just great!

So the bat was screaming and screeching (bats make a really horrible, eardrum-shredding sound, btw) and I could hear his wings flapping around, but couldn't see him.  I was freaking out, wondering if he'd free himself at any moment and come swooping towards my head like the last bat in this apartment did.  Just then I heard a knock at my door, and for a second believed it to be Stevie, whom I had phoned for assistance.  But it was a strange-sounding knock, not Stevie-like at all.

"Who is it?" I shouted from my computer room.

"It's Clare," a goofy-toned man's voice called out, "and I'm here to share a Bible message with the tenants."

"Go away," I said firmly. 

"Okay, have a nice day," he said, his footsteps carrying him down the common stairs and out the door.

Man!  Of all the times I had wished a Jehovah's Witness would finally come to my door so I could really give them a piece of my mind, this guy had to come at the precise moment I was ridding my apartment of yet another animal invader.

The bat let out another screech.  I was sure he was caught under my big cabinet-thingey.  But the cabinet is so large and so heavy and built in such a way that in order to even see under it, I had to empty it and tip it over.  So I took out piles upon piles of books and papers and crafting supplies, unscrewed the doors from their hinges, removed the shelves, and made a complete mess of my computer room.  Then, sweating and trembling with a visceral fear, I slowly tipped the cabinet over, then carefully inspected it and the corner area where the sound was coming from, in every possible crevice.    

No bat!

He was still screeching and I was looking directly at the sound, but not seeing any critter anywhere--not even any bat turds (although I did find a dead spider and also a big centipede exoskeleton that's been rotting for so long it's almost a pile of dust).  The bat was not under the cabinet but stuck behind the wall, which was amazing, given how perfectly clear and loud his cries were.  I realized that to free him, I'd have to tear my walls out.    

So, with the bat still screeching, I cleared a pathway through the rubble back to my computer and resumed working on my political paper about the US and Mexico.  I worked on this paper for the next 16 hours straight, with the bat screeching and audibly flailing around and making a commotion every 10-15 mintues for that ENTIRE 16 hours.  This was extremely stressful for me and for the bat both.  He kept at it right up to 1:30am, until I turned off my computer to go to bed.  As I left the room, I heard the bat finally move to another section of my wall, and then heard some big plaster chunks crumble.  When I returned Sunday morning at 6am to work on my paper, my computer room was silent.  So, either the bat freed himself, or he was knocked out by a flying chunk of plaster, or he was eaten by one of the massive, prehistoric centipedes stalking this building.

Sweet Athena, I can't wait to escape from this nasty place.  My apartment is only 300 square feet!  And in a downtown area.  Can't I have just a little respite from pests?  It's not like I'm taking up thousands of square feet in a mansion carved out of a core forest habitat.  Man.  I've lived all over the world in various shelters and hostels and apartments and have had mice, roaches, silverfish, ants, ladybugs, you name it.  But this bat-and-centipede combo is really a one-two punch for me.  I can't take it anymore.  I'm being attacked both by land and by air.