Thursday, October 23, 2008

Oh deer. ME!?

(That's a takeoff on the POINTMEISTER'S post for today!)

On tuesday morning at about 6 a.m. I was merrily (well, maybe a better adverb would be "sleepily") driving to work.

I had just left the house. I wasn't even out of the city limits yet. But I WAS on a divided boulevard with a 55 mph speed limit (which I was actually obeying, Christina!) (. . . for once).

In the glare of the headlights of the oncoming traffic I saw a flicker of motion.

Gee, that looked like something moving between me and that car . . . Must have been an animal! Where there's one, there are usually more. Oh, SH---BAM!!

I had just the barest instant to flick the wheel to the left in reaction to the sight of the deer running straight across from right to left about two feet in front of my right headlight.

It happened so fast (plus it was pitch dark out there -- no street lights) that I never saw which way the body of the instantly-dead deer flew. I was now in the median, still going about 55, and fighting for control of the car.

Now, the experts will tell you that when you see an animal in front of you and can't stop, DON'T swerve. Likely you'll just lose control of the car and crash, doing MUCH worse damage to life and property than if you just hit the animal. They tell you to drive THROUGH the animal, let the car absorb the damage, and come to a controlled stop.

Yeah, right. I know all that.

But the experts don't tell you how to prevent that reflexive instinct to avoid a collision. I had swerved before I had a conscious thought about what to do.

Anyway, I did regain control, eased back onto the pavement, came to a controlled stop, and got out to inspect the damage. I didn't even have to clean out my pants! Must have been my fighter-pilot training and instincts. (Or something.) (Aside: They say that just before you really screw up a night carrier landing, first you say it, and then you DO it.)

Before I even looked at the front of the car I knew it was totalled. Why? Well, this was my commute-to-work car. It's a little Mazda Protege (great gas mileage!) that is 12 years old and has 196,000 miles on it. That means the current value of the car is about $1,900, if I'm REALLY lucky. Just replacing the hood, headlight and front fender would cost that much, or more.

Sure enough, all of those were mashed pretty thoroughly. In addition, when I struck the front shoulder of the deer, the back end slammed around into the passenger-side door denting it in and leaving a large smear of . . . well . . .deer poop right by the handle.

Believe it or not, the car was still drivable. So after ensuring that the deer carcass was not impeding traffic I decided there was no sense calling the police. They darn sure weren't going to ticket the deer! I drove on to work.

As of today, two things are official:

1. My car has had the damage estimated and has been declared a total loss. It will be driven away to some salvage yard tomorrow. It's epitaph ought to be, "I fought the deer, and I won."

2. My new nickname at work is "Deerslayer." That alternates with "Bambi Murderer," and a few other attempts at humor

I just told them to go open my passenger door, and then smell their hand.


Tracye said...

Ha! Deerslayer! That's what Hubs wishes he were known as.

FYI, had you called the police, hubs would have been there in a millisecond to, 1. see if it were a buck; 2. cut off its head if it were; 3. get any salvageable meat to the slaughterhouse.

So sorry about your car. I think that's what I learned to drive a standard transmission on.

Hale McKay said...

Oh, my. Deer me.

I'm glad you are okay. The car is easier to replace than yourself.

My post title was eerily prophetic.

R.E. Wolf said...

I'm just glad you're ok... Deerslayer!

Christina said...

Wow, I'm glad you're OK, sorry about the car. I'm glad it wasn't your new Escape Hybrid!!!

Duke_of_Earle said...

Re: Tracye's comment. Hmmm. So THAT'S why I had to replace the clutch after only 30,000 miles.

Just kidding, Trace! Actually, I think you learned in the earlier Protege that my younger daughter had after I had driven it well over 100k miles. Those Mazdas have been good to my family!

P.S. I'm pretty sure the deer was a young doe. The "flash picture" I have in my head of the deer in my headlight for a millisecond before impact doesn't include a rack of any kind, not even spikes. And the animal was pretty small. A big buck would have rendered that small car undrivable, I'm sure.

kenju said...

The deerslayer. Hmmm. Nice name.

I am so glad you weren't hurt. What will you be driving to work tomorrow?