We have quite the impressive balcony in our new apartment. I don’t mean to toot my landlady’s horn, but it is, quite literally, the greatest thing that has ever existed. Despite the thick layer of dust and an occasional poopy smell, this balcony is one of the most pleasant places I have taken my Nescafe, and I am glad to be here.
A live tree hangs over the balcony, making half of the right side look as if it were in a forest. (Just to clarify, we are not in a forest. We are in the opposite of a forest: Cairo, where trees come to be coated in dust and then wither despite the abundance of carbon dioxide ). This tree is a preferred swooping location of our local bat population.
The thought of bats might sound unpleasant, like when you get an email from a guest you accidentally locked out on the balcony notifying you that she stole your delicates and won’t give them back until you replace the pair of designer jeans she tore while climbing down from the fifth floor. I myself used to think that bats were grotesque creatures, especially because their wings look like desiccated hands. They are also mammals that fly, which is just wrong. Though they had never done anything to hurt me, childhood movies and Halloween taught me to fear them as creatures both of darkness and evil intent, only one of which they deserve.
But then, on accident, I learned something. Bats eat insects, including mosquitoes. This was a game changer. Were I given a thousand marble tablets, nine hundred and ninety nine assistants, three thousand years, a box of potato chips, and an endless supply of gummy bears and chisels, I would still not be able to carve out the depths of my loathing for mosquitoes. The bat, my former de-facto foe, became my friend since it feasts on the beings I despise.
Why should we hate the bats anyways? Is it because they are like us, preferring to stay up at night and swoop around in seemingly haphazard oblong shapes? Why should the dove be associated with love, when they are good for nothing more than statue-defecation and vegetation-carrying? Who cares if they’re monogamous? Aren’t bats the true romantic animal, staying up late, sacrificing the sunlight in order to eat disgusting creatures that would otherwise suck my blood? That’s all I’ve ever sought in a man.
I finally understand that bats are simple creatures, loving darkness, mosquito eating, and screeching, activities that I occasionally indulge in myself. Now when I see him/her/them swooping around outside the tree, I smile to myself as I imagine the thousands of insects they have crushed in the grips of their weird mouths. I no longer look on the bat as any less than human. They are my guardians in a world full of things with more than four legs, and what they do is more noble than creepy. I’m taking this opportunity to announce a new line of greeting cards, chocolates, and bedding based on the concept of bats as the true symbol of romance. If you are a hands-off, fun-driven investor, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.