Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Bat Poop Crazy

So this week's host for our weekly playgroup canceled at the last minute, leaving me, as the playgroup leader, to scrounge around for an alternative meeting site. I used a local library storytime as the fall back, even though it's pretty far from my house and the librarian is less than enthusiastic when it comes to children's stories.

I mean, what is it about children's librarians that requires them to be so strict and intimidating? I still remember my elementary school librarian and those tight leather skirts she always wore. It was the 1980s, so that meant pantyhose and high heels, and you could hear her coming a mile away as her hose swished against those skirts. I think she was trying to get the attention of the P.E. teacher, who wore equally short and tight coaching shorts. To this day, my sisters and I are still traumatized from the many hours spent sitting cross-legged in our "squad lines," at perfect eye level with his crotch. But that's a blog post for another time. And then there was the awful librarian in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, who never, in all Francie's years of reading, ever once looked up from her desk and acknowledged the eager young girl looking for a friend.

This lady isn't that bad, but she's older and unenthusiastic, and I leave storytime feeling like I need a nap. No wonder Babycakes was growling. There was a craft after the story, which involved gluing a paper chicken to a stick, and then attaching feathers to its backside. I didn't even bother because, for one, we all know I am not crafty; and besides that, if I did somehow manage to make a chicken-with-feathers-on-a-stick, Babycakes would rip it apart in no time at all and shove the stick down his throat. So, we left early while everyone else was making a beeline to the craft table.

Since it was still early, I decided to head to my doctor's office to have my thyroid levels checked before my appointment next week. The lab is in the same complex where Babycakes was born 10 months ago this week, and the hospital has automatic doors that open and shut incessantly all day long. Just like at the mall, it's not unusual for the occasional bird to fly inside and wander around for a bit before finding the exit. I think I read once that it's good luck for a bird to get trapped inside a house. Or maybe it's bad luck, who knows.

But today, it was not a bird that snuck inside the hospital.

As I signed in at the desk, a woman came out of a door reserved for hospital staff, and screamed at the sight of something on the floor. Since it's hot and has been raining for weeks, I assumed it was a roach. As she walked past me, she asked if I saw the bat on the floor that she stepped on. A bat. In the hospital. Sounds like a liability to me. Not only can you acquire life-threatening infections like MRSA from your local hospital, but you can now also get rabies.

I told the woman that she should probably call someone to come get the bat, which was flitting around close to the floor, and she considered the idea as though the thought had not crossed her own mind. She then told a receptionist nearby, who called security, or animal control, or housekeeping, or whomever you call to come pick up a stray bat.

While I tried to find a seat as far away from the bat as possible, an older woman who had been watching the events unfold stood up and asked me what it was. I told her not to walk over to the other side of the waiting room, because there was a live bat on the floor.

Without even trying to disguise the obvious disappointment in her voice, she looked at me and said, "Oh, I thought it was a snake."

I guess that would have been more exciting.

And the irony of a bat in the lab is not lost on me. The staff has a really high turnover rate, so maybe it was the new phlebotomist.