2018-07-13 / Commentary

Running with the bats

40–Something

My morning run got off to a bit of a terrifying start this past Wednesday morning.

I did what I usually do... plugged in the ear buds, turned on Pandora, started the Runtastic app, said a little prayer that nothing would hurt worse than usual, and off I went. Then I looked up and screamed like a little girl because three bats were swirling just about 20 feet above my head.

I have some experience with bats.

When I was a kid roaming the streets of my neighborhood in the late 70s, bats would come out at twilight. My friends and I would throw rocks in the air and watch the bats chase them. That game would usually come to an end when one of the bats would chase a rock clear down to head level and send us diving for cover.

Another time a few years later, we discovered a bat resting comfortably upside down in my grandmother’s drapes. My grandmother was an animal lover, but she was also a proper Southern lady, and rodents with wings just didn’t fit in with the decor.

That poor bat never saw that other bat ( a Louisville Slugger) coming.

So, as I said, I’m no stranger to these creepy flying things, but I had no idea they were early birds...so to speak.

Once I got over that unsettling sighting, my mind began to wander as it usually does when I’m jogging.

I started to imagine that one of the bats was radioactive. If it swooped down to bite me, would I turn into some kind of batman superhero? Could I fly, fight crime, and undo all the damage done to Batman’s image by Ben Affleck?

As I was picturing Commissioner Gordon handing me the keys to the city, one of the bats swooped down so close to my head I could feel the breeze from the flap of its wings.

Was this particular bat seeking revenge because it was a distant relative of the poor soul that thought resting in my grandmother’s drapes was a good idea?

Suddenly, I wasn’t just running to stay in shape; I was running for my life.

When I finally came back to my senses and realized the skies were bat-free once again, my mind wandered to that episode of “ The Office” where Dwight traps a bat by throwing a garbage bag over it and Meredith’s head.

I started to chuckle to myself remembering Dwight’s “you’re welcome,” when I turned onto the next cul-de-sac and found the minions of evil had returned and were taunting me once again with their little flights of terror.

Was this part of some sinister plan? Was Dwight waiting at the end of the street with a garbage bag?

Or...were these bats just out for a little breakfast and could care less about some middle-aged man struggling through a morning jog?

Probably the latter.

Who knows? They all retreated to their caves once the sun took over the sky.

I do know I had one of my fastest runs in years. Turns out fleeing swooping bats is an excellent motivational tool.

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