Vantage Point

By Donna Steiner

September 10, 2018

Vantage Point

Some boys found a little brown bat in the parking lot outside the surgeon's office. Delicate as a tea bag, they poked it with a stick, kicked it.

Every day patients park their cars, head into the doctors’ offices. From my apartment I look down at their careful walks up the ramp, clutching papers, insurance cards. Sometimes a spouse or friend drives them, then that person waits in the car.

I’ve wanted to tap on the windows of those chaperones, maybe on a day when they keep the engine running because it’s cold out. I could tell them about the unfolded, crooked Dracula wing of the bat, its soft body. Or invite them upstairs for tea, show them where to sit, by the vent for warmth, or they could stand by the window and watch for their person. They will see how it feels up here, see the narrow corridors where the bats fly. I could explain that scientists think bats might crash more often when they rely on vision, crash less often when they listen. Precarious no matter what.

I’d want to say, that ramp gets slippery; I’d want to say, it might not be so hard to sit in the waiting room… but we all want the same thing, we’re wishing we could save one small living thing, knowing we can’t. I’ve been inside that surgeon’s office, entered alone and left alone, and the world shifts so very fast before we crash, no matter how hard we listen.

Comments (23) - Post a Comment
This "Beautiful Thing" has depth. Excellent.
Dolly Withrow at 9:01am EDT - September 10, 2018
Anything with bats gets my attentionóthis is particularly sensitive to the delicate dance of our passage.
Jan Priddy at 9:11am EDT - September 10, 2018
This is so pointed and spectacular.
emily james at 9:17am EDT - September 10, 2018
These phrases resonated with me: "bats might crash more often when they rely on vision, crash less often when they listen." Hopefully, I'll be more mindful today after reading your piece. Thank you.
Jean Coco at 9:23am EDT - September 10, 2018
Yes, the bat draws me in and your observations and wishes for others hit a deep spot of human frailty where none of us is sure of what comes next when entering the surgeonís office. So much more in rereading.
Peggy Lamb at 10:16am EDT - September 10, 2018
thought provoking. Love the bat imagery throughout.
Julie Lambert at 11:02am EDT - September 10, 2018
This is so lovely.
Anne McGrath at 11:04am EDT - September 10, 2018
The details build so beautifully to hold up that last powerful line.
Marge Pellegrino at 12:03pm EDT - September 10, 2018
"Delicate as a tea bag". I'll always think of that when I think of bats now.
Amber at 1:08pm EDT - September 10, 2018
Precarious no matter what, yet so precious because of people like you in the world. Attention must be paid, and you are paying it.
Lois Needham at 1:32pm EDT - September 10, 2018
So lovely. I've read it twice already...want to come back and read again.
Lisa Romeo at 4:00pm EDT - September 10, 2018
Iíve known Steinerís writing for 20 years. Her ability to capture the loneliness and mundanity and bring out the beautiful fragility of it all amazes me, and this piece just makes me want to show up at her doorstep and look at bats, and feel loved.
Wendy Coulter at 5:01pm EDT - September 10, 2018
Thank you for crafting this wonderful, compassionate piece.
Mary at 5:57pm EDT - September 10, 2018
Like Bruegel the Elder and many others, this author gives us the observation of the artist as the outsider looking in. Then, her view shifts: She has been in that waiting room herself. That's powerful contrast to the delicacy of bat wings and tea cups. I love this little vignette--a picture in words.
Linda Loomis at 7:34pm EDT - September 10, 2018
Very nice, thank you.
Autumn Shah at 5:41am EDT - September 11, 2018
Tender. Evocative. Winged with heartbreak and chance.
AE Bartell at 9:11am EDT - September 11, 2018
Thank you for this tender evocation.
Molly Howes at 10:03am EDT - September 11, 2018
A soft and pretty piece, I love it.
Hayley at 8:43am EDT - September 15, 2018
Loved the perspective, felt like I was in that corridor looking out with you. And that last line--a stunner.
Joanne Glenn at 2:11pm EDT - September 15, 2018
This is a very pointed and efficiently written piece that manages to cover the human desire to be in community with others. The connection between the bat and the human scenario described is astute and creative. This was a pleasure to read, thank you so much!
Jackson at 9:30pm EDT - September 18, 2018
The ending of this piece brought tears to my eyes. Wow. I caught my breath at the last sentence of the piece. I absolutely love how you managed to connect a simple interaction to something so much deeper. This is such a beautiful piece. Fantastic job!
Huda Navaid at 11:19am EDT - September 19, 2018
I love the bat metaphor. This piece made me feel the loneliness we may all feel at one point in our lives and the desire to be a part of a community. Your words are such a unique take on the uncertainty of life.
Katrina Samonte at 2:00pm EDT - September 19, 2018
This piece is really inspiring to me because it also brings a sense of awareness. So many instances, moments, experiences occur in our daily lives that we often forget how to observe. I think this point is especially illuminated when the author describes the bat and how it crashes less when it listens.
Lace Yahnke at 5:52pm EDT - September 20, 2018

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