Monday, November 28, 2005

Deer v. Auto

It came at me from the left. One second, I'm driving along perfectly content, having just made a new friend at the movies, and the next second I see a deer flash before me. The image is burned in my mind. His fur was whitewashed from the glare of the headlights. His eye was like a black marble. I swerved and hit the brakes, but he still hit. I didn't know what to do. I kept driving until I found a lit parking lot, where I got out to inspect the damage. I called my mom, sobbing on the phone, freaking out. Should I go back to find the poor animal? Could I handle seeing it suffer, lying there on the road? I drove back looking for it, and couldn't find it. I called 911 (something I'd never done before) and they sent a police officer to take a report. He was there in two minutes. I sat in my car for 20 while he did who-knows-what in his squad car. Meanwhile another officer stopped by to report seeing a dazed deer walking on the side of the road. I am clinging to the thought that it was my deer. That it was just a little stunned, not seriously injured and certainly not dying. I have no way of knowing exactly what happened to my deer, but I have to tell myself that this kind of thing happens all the time, and I did what I could to minimize the damage. I also can't help but think of Darwin. I mean, come on, an animal that is attracted to fast moving bright lights cannot be one of the fittest for survival.

Meanwhile the irony is sickening. I never should have even been on that stretch of road. When I left the theater I turned left and I should have turned right! But thanks to my stellar sense of (mis)direction, I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. However, I can't help but count my blessings and think about how it could have been so much worse. I mean, I was actually driving the speed limit for once, and I actually had both eyes on the road and both hands on the steering wheel, when frequently I'm speeding and either reading a map or taking a photo. If he'd hit head-on, my airbags would have gone off, my windshield could have smashed, I could have been hurt, the deer could have died. So I'm thankful things were not worse. The damage to my car is relatively minimal. Of course, minimal is all relative to an insurance company. My car isn't worth much to begin with, being a '98 with 97k miles, so even two grand of damage warrants being totaled. So we'll have to see what happens with that. Such drama!

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