In search of what's next

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Is this my fault?

We were getting ready to go to town the other day and saw this guy in the back yard. I'm sure he's related to several others in the area who have caused damage to property and general well being. I think they should wear those little superman "S"'s on their chest, not to mention those little yellow reflector stripes that crossing guards wear. I've had the pleasure of hitting several of them (hazard of living in the country) and they miraculously get up and walk/run away. Sometimes they get their revenge too.

I'm sure you've seen your share of deer carnage on the roadways (think extra large road pizza), or at checkstations if you're in the vicinity during the season. I've not hit one to cause that type of carnage, thank God.

I hit one once in my Saturn I used to have that just sort of drove under the deer (I was only going about 30mph at the time) and maybe just tripped him up a little, like a throw rug with a wrinkle in it you stumble over when not looking where you walk. He might have skinned his chin a little as he stumbled and kept going.

Another time I hit one with my pickup truck going about 40mph and the deer rolled out in front of me, feet and legs flailing for about 75'. Fortunately it only cracked the grill on the truck because the deer realized his mistake, albeit too late, in which he just ducked to turn around with his head lowered, and I hit him full force with the bumper from head to tail. (He left alot of hair behind that time). Silly thing got up, looked at me, shook his head and ran off. He had to at least had one heck of a headache.

I think they don't look where they go, they just run to feel the wind on their face. One time I was following my wife home from work and a deer is running across this field toward the road where we're driving. You've got to realize my wife is squeamish about this, so I'm thinking she's going to stop. It's getting really close to her car! Sure enough there are the brake lights, but then suddenly they go out and she shoots forward. Hmm. Definitely not like her to be aggressive at the wheel.

My wonder is short lived though. She tried to judge where the deer would cross and by accellerating she thought it would pass behind her. Nooooooot quite. It ran into the right rear quarter panel, spun a complete 360, and kept right on going across the road. Didn't even stumble. My wife, which really surprised me, kept right on going too. I'm thinking didn't she hear that? Surely, you would hear a 200 lb. deer head butt the side of an Escort station wagon. It's not like they have any insulation in them. She said there wasn't much reason to stop.

She was right. There was only a small head shaped dent in the panel, right on the reflector. It didn't even knock the reflector off. We left the dent there and didn't fix it as it was a good tale when someone asked what happened. In the country, it's kind of like a badge of honor, I guess. You see a lot of cars with dents like that.

I hit several with that saturn tho. Another one walked out in front of me and stopped while I was trying to stop, although there wasn't enough space, so I hit him and he body slammed the hood on the car. One nice feature of a saturn is the side body panels are some kind of plastic that won't dent. (It'll shatter into a bazillion pieces, but it won't dent! ) But the hood isn't. It's metal. I had to get a new hood on that one. Sad part is I had just gotten the car fixed from being involved in one of those accordion crashes, you know where someone skids into the car behind you, driving him into me, and thus into the car in front of me. I'd had the car back only about a month from that incident. Sheesh.

The most amazing one I hit was in the Saturn again. I was running late for music practice and hurrying down this road I live on. (Think about this...all these deer I tell you about I hit in the same 1/4 mile stretch of roadway, except for the wife's contact which was about a mile further down.) This guy ran out in front of me, I was doing about 45, and I double whammied him. His chin hit the left front corner of the car then it bounced off the mirror. I don't know why the mirror didn't break off, but the two hits were enough for the deer.

He landed in the ditch with his legs pointing up and didn't even twitch. I thought it was the most effective deer kill I'd ever seen. Problem was I was still late for music practice. I felt bad about leaving it there, so I got this bright idea that I'd seen my neighbor at home, so I drove back and told him and his buddy that I'd just hit a deer and it was laying along the road if they wanted it.

They jumped in their truck to follow me back to the hit and run site. Deer is still laying there. We pull up and get out, then all of the sudden the deer jumps up and kind of stumbles his way across the road and starts to walk it off. I was totally amazed at this deer even breathing at this point, but it kept walking until it didn't walk like a drunk and eventually bounded off into the trees. He REALLY had to have a headache. I had to apologize to the neighbors because they didn't get a deer after all. They said something about owing them something...

But the one time I hit a deer where it got it's revenge was disgusting, for lack of a better word. Remember, I'm still talking about the same stretch of road. Bad part is it's the way I have to go to town, work, church, etc. I could go the long way, but at $2.50 a gallon, I guess I'm going to take it out on the local deer population.

Living where I do in the country has some advantages. No neighbors, no noise, no fences, etc. I only have to mow the parts of the yard I feel like (unless the wife changes that idea). And in the summer, I like to drive with the windows down (if it isn't so stinkin hot), especially in the morning on the way to work, when it's cool, the air smells good, it's quiet, etc.

This was a day like all the others, I get up, shower, dress, take care of the pets, fix lunch, leave for work. This is every week day, as I leave before sun-up. I head out toward work with the windows down because it's a beautiful warm morning. I drive thru the dreaded stretch of road where the deer stroll. Whenever I let my guard down, one of them always has at least a near miss. You'd think I'd learn. This day would teach me to watch even more carefully as I drove past this location, one came running out into the road and I had no reaction time other than duck in the seat. I thought sure at the speed he was going and the speed I was going that he'd come right thru the windshield.

He was going a little slower. He hit the left front fender (which bounced back and didn't dent!!) then bounced off the left corner post of the windshield. I was still moving and I sat back up in the seat. First thing I see is that my windshield is still intact, but the mirror is flapping in the breeze.

I can't drive a car without the left mirror, so I turned around in the next driveway to go back home and get my truck. As I pass the spot where I hit the deer, I crane my neck out the window to see if he's dead or not. As I do, I smell something a bit odd. Ugh, I thought maybe I did do some serious damage to him and his guts are spilled all over the ditch. I just couldn't see it because it was dark. I head onto the house to get the truck.

I park the car and start to get into the truck and remember to get my lunchbox. As I open the car door, the light comes on revealing deer's breakfast all over the door frame and subsequently the entire side of the car and the rear window. Great I gotta clean this up when I get home. I bend down to get my lunchbox and notice little bits of green breakfast all over me too. Great. Now I gotta clean me up too.

So I go back in the house to change clothes and wash off. Think from my wife's point of view. 10 minutes ago, she heard me leave and now the door slams I come stomping thru the house. She meets me at the head of the stairs with a worried look on her face asking me what's wrong. Well, I didn't want to upset her as I realized me coming back in the house probably did startle her somewhat and anything I say might make it worse that it really is. The only thing I could think of was "a deer threw up on me".

"What?!?" she asks. I repeated myself as the perfect answer still eluded me.

"You are so weird" she finally says and goes back to bed.

Is it wrong that I'm thinking, hey, she likes weird... Or at least she likes me. I hope she still does.

So, the search for what's next continues...


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