Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Bat this around...

(blogger is not letting me post pics right now)

Yesterday at work I finally found out what I’ll actually be doing here at Pech Laurier – and it doesn’t involve teaching English (thank goodness). I’m the trainee for the cellar master. Not a bad deal – it what’s I expected – and it’s just what I did in California, but not nearly as difficult.

At Harlan, in napa, we worked very hard and the winery was treated like an operating room. The machines were washed with disinfectant nightly, nothing that touched the wine touched the floor, and no wine was wasted or mixed with other wine. The same cannot be said for the standard operating procedures at this winery. Things are not run with the same level of precision, dedication, or degree of cleanliness. Trust me, you don’t want to know.

Work days begin early with coffee and bread but lunches are long and prepared fresh and involve alcohol (today: beer and wine). After work, we typically drink some more wine sitting around outside and, from what I understand, talk about, uh, stuff. Truth is, I can’t tell the difference yet, but the wine is nice. Yesterday we shot some guns (hunting season just opened for game birds and the guys here are pretty excited) and went on a mushroom hunt.

Last night I wanted to shower so I excused myself from supper around 9:30. I was in my shower, which you can see from the picture has no walls, and the door to my room, as well as the bathroom, were open. The hallway outside of my room leads into some large rooms here at the winery and we never close the doors to those rooms – open air. We also have a lot of insects in this part of france – warm, humid, continental climate – and what animals love flying insects? You guessed it – bats!

So I’m in the shower, soaping up, not wearing my glasses, very relaxed when I notice the light in my room flickers occasionally. I squint to see more clearly as I realize something is flying around my room, and no sooner did I think “shit, bat!” then it flew into the tiny bathroom and started circling me in the shower.

There’s not much that really scares me in this life, but contracting rabies is pretty high on the list. So far, I’ve managed to avoid it. However, I’ve heard it said that bats often carry rabies, and I’ve seen Old Yeller – it didn’t end well. And what do you always here about scared animals doing to people in unfortunate positions? That’s right, biting them. And here I am, completely naked without my glasses and in a room with a blind, scared, raging-with-rabies, flying-circles-around-me bat.

I can’t explain how quickly I moved. First, I threw the only thing in my hand at the bat. That happened to be the shower head, which of course didn’t go very far being attached to the wall and all. Next I bolted for the bedroom with the bat in chase, somehow managing to grab my towel. I headed out of the room and closed the door behind myself, not wanting the crazy sucker to sink his nasty little teeth into my neck.

I slowly open the door and peer inside trying to gauge the situation. I have nothing but my towel – no glasses, no light, no weapons. I decided to retreat downstairs and find some type of implement to aide me with my quest – kill the bat.

I returned to my room, up the ladder, slowly opening the door. Still in towel, I noticed that the bat was back in the bathroom. I crept into the bedroom to open the window, hoping the bat would sound his little sonar system off and find the way out. I gave it a chance to live. However, as I turned around the bat came at me again, and in my haste to exit the room, lost my towel.

Here I stand, basically blind, in the dark, naked. I’ve lost my first and best weapon – I long board. I return downstairs, hoping no one is out walking around the estate, and find a much shorter board and a cardboard box. Returning to the room, I notice the bat isn’t flying around. Looking into the bathroom, I see it clinging to the ceiling. As I move in to try and smash beyond recognition, it takes off and flies past my head. I hit the ground and crawled/ran back out of the room into the hall.

Looking back into my room, watching the bat circle, I considered my options. A) walk, naked, to the house, wake marie and be completely humiliated, or b) kick some bat ass, blind, naked and scared to death of rabies.

Do you even have to ask? I walked to the house, woke mar…no, I’m kidding. I went into that room like I owned it, charged the bat with box and stick, and smashed the blood right out of it’s body. Not surprisingly, bats are disgusting up close, especially when they’d been squished beyond recognition. Crazy night, but I slept well with the door closed.


The Darkness said...

That's an entertaining story, but I'm a little scared to see what you would have posted if blogger would have let you post pics...

deb said...

Jon, it's so good to read your humor! I can just picture you telling the story in person!

- deb (from Omaha, now living in Kenya)

Bryce said...

If you had contracted rabies, sadly we would have to take you out behind the cellar and shoot you