I got up early to work out today, which is necessary these days if you want to do anything requiring ANY kind of exertion outside. When I came in, I turned GMA while I sucked down a few glasses of water. My local news station runs a little ticker along the bottom of the screen, you know the type, with weather and traffic updates and the morning’s headlines, and as I was standing there, idly watching, I saw this: CARRBORO MAN AWAKES TO FIND BAT CHEWING ON HIS FACE, 15th CONFIRMED RABIES CASE THIS YEAR.
Okay. So this is truly my worst nightmare. I’ve written here before about my bat phobia: yes, I know they eat lots of mosquitoes, and that they’re not all rabid but HELLO WAKING UP TO ONE CHEWING ON YOUR FACE? There are so many disturbing things about this story. First, how do you SLEEP through such a thing, if only for a few minutes? Second, was this person alone in bed? Because the only thing worse, I think, than waking up to a bat chewing your face is waking up to find one chewing on your partner, a mere pillow away. Before I saw this story, my biggest fear was a bat landing in my hair and me not knowing it, only to come inside, reach up, and—-yikes. Which also happened here locally, to some woman, at the beginning of summer. But this, it’s just a whole other level. Are we not even safe in our own homes, while sleeping?
Well, I guess it doesn’t really matter, since I probably won’t be sleeping much from now on. Instead, I’ll be wide awake, hyper vigilant, listening for little bat wings in the dark all around me.
I know, I know. There are much worse things to be worrying about. In fact, in just the few moments I had the news on this morning, I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of horrific, scary and traumatic stories that are happening right now, even as I write this. A bat, in the scheme of things, is not a big deal, not at all. But I wonder if, in a way, it isn’t almost calming—in a weird way—to worry about something like this, if only for a few minutes. Sure, it’s creepy and nerve-wracking, certainly not pleasant. But it’s also a simpler, more basic kind of fear and worry, easily traced to an outside source, something you can put your finger on. Unlike so much else that is widespread and confusing, a million different sides and issues, so much to think about, too much even.
So maybe that justifies it. Or maybe not. Either way, I think I’m going to avoid the ticker in the early morning, for awhile. I’m convinced: no good can come of it. None!