Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Oh, deer.

     I was coming back from my gym workout this am, and I was stumped for any inspiration for this week's blog, when suddenly God provided it for me.  It was shortly after sunrise, and while driving back, suddenly I spotted a deer coming across the road on a trajectory with my car.  I was easily able to avoid it, I was alert and going a reasonable speed, but it made me think that my history of accidents involving deer might make a good blog plot, so here it is.

     I'm pretty sure my first deer was on a Halloween weekend, some 25-30 years ago.  I'm not a hunter, but at last count I had racked up 7 of these creatures, and none intentionally.  The first time, I had just purchased a new car, a Toyota Tercel hatchback, and my wife and I were headed to Rochester dressed for the party. I had just finished remarking to my wife that I really hadn't gotten used to where everything was on the car yet, when someone driving in the opposite direction flashed their lights at me.  I looked down to see if my high beams were on, and in those few moments, I heard an awful
What my car looked like after the deer
thud, and felt the impact with something at the front of the car.  I remember the sickening feeling that I had, and my first thought wasn't that I hit a deer, as I was on a stretch of Route 332 where some kids had been hit by a car several years earlier. I pulled over and exited the car, and then confirmed that it was a deer that I hit.  Coincidentally, some cousins of mine, from Newark, were close by and pulled over to help us.  The spotlight that they had on their car was the only thing that allowed us to find the deer.  It had flown over the car and into a ditch and it's legs were crushed.  It had already died, and my car wasn't faring that much better.  The car was only days old to me, but at least it took the worry out of who was going to get the first scratch.  As I had mentioned, we were headed to a party, but I hadn't mentioned that we were dressed as a 50's couple, complete with greased hair, leather jacket, and a poodle skirt (Char, not me.).  After we got home, we scrubbed the idea of driving to Rochester, and went out and visited friends in Cdga, and got to meet my best friend's new girlfriend for the first time (Shout out to Dan and Peggy).  This wouldn't be the last time we interacted with them on evenings that we hit deer.

     My next two deer hits were less eventful and both of these happened in the early morning.  I used to drive a lot of miles doing my job as an independent foodservice salesperson.  I'd do 2-3 times the miles that an average person would drive, with my top year coming in at 40,000 or so miles.  I'd be out at dawn and home at dusk, and my schedule coincided with the deer's, almost perfectly.  So the next two hits happened on my way to work.  I had graduated up to used Toyota Camry's by then, and they fared only slightly better than the
Deer look good here.
Tercel when it came to impacting wildlife.  Not a lot to tell about these hits, car met deer, did damage, deer died, car got fixed.  My next one, however, was a little funnier.  We were going to go to dinner in Honeoye with friends (second shout out to Dan and Peggy) one Friday, and we had a rental car at the time.  Char's Charger was in the shop, being fixed from an accident caused by some amorous activity happening in the other car that hit us, so we had a rental.  We had joked about taking the rental over that way, as the area was rife with deer, and of course, we didn't own it.  Little did we know we were foreshadowing.  It was on the way back that we crested a hill, going pretty slowly, when we saw the 3 deer conversing on the side of the road.  It seriously looked like they were talking with each other, and I swear I almost heard one of them dare another to cross in front of us.  He did, and try as we did to slow down, the road was slick and we skidded into the deer and bumped him over.  It was more like cow tipping this time, and the deer wasn't seriously hurt, and we only cracked the headlight cover on the rental car.  It allowed the light to shine into the trees instead of the road, so we looked like we were coon hunting on the drive home. If you have to hit a deer, that's the way to hit one.  We only had to pay a little to replace the headlamp and the deer had a great story to go back and tell to his friends. 

     The next deer I did not hit, my wife and daughter did.  They were coming back from a cheerleading event at night and crested a hill just a mile away from our home (You know that's where most accidents happen, right?).  That's where the deer was too, just a mile away from our home.  There was no time to react to a deer
Deer don't look good here
standing in the road, so the deer was hit, hit the windshield, and then flew over the car.  I say I wasn't involved, but technically I was, cuz they were driving my Cirrus.  My wife apologized profusely, but there was no need, by this time I had figured out that the deer had it in for me.  I evened up the score (with my wife, not the deer) the next year, and hit one with her van, dropping off my brother from our annual Christmas shopping trip.  We were less than a mile from his house (you know that's where most accidents happen, right?).  Not too much damage with this one, and by this time I could just look at the car and guess how much it was going to cost to fix it.  It's a skill that I wish I hadn't had developed.

     The last deer in this litany of roadside rendezvous, we hit while coming back from some friend's' house on Christmas eve (Last shout out to Dan and Peggy).  We were about a mile from their house (you know that's...)
Deer looks best here
The van was loaded with the kids and after we hit it, I surveyed the damage, and Char kept the kids from trying to inspect the carcass too much (That's how you get Vegetarians).  I'm pretty sure we were able to drive, but that's a bold statement to make as I'm telling you about our 7th deer hit.  We made it home safely and the deer was quickly forgotten as the wrapping paper came off the first present the next morning.  My present that year, was that the deer seemed to call a truce on our cars after that, as it now has been years since they have had an impact on our vehicles. 

     I'm not sure if there is a moral with this blog, so let's check.   Slow down ? Nope I've hit them while barely moving.  Get deer whistles?  Nope, had them on at least twice when I hit em.  Don't take a job that gets you up early and brings you home late?  Like we have a choice.  Don't drive to see friends and family on Holidays? Kind of defeats the purpose of the Holiday, doesn't it? The only one I can really come up with is, if you find yourself driving and you see a deer about to cross in front of a car on the opposite side of you, don't flash your high beams at them.  It's really not as helpful as you'd think. 

1 comment:

Daphne Mays said...

Oh my! That's an impressive tally! I've done the "roll the deer up on the car hood at slow speeds" trick, but didn't get away that inexpensively! The road we lived on in NY averaged a deer killed every week. I confess we fed a couple of those to our dog. Up here we don't have deer, but the moose seem equally intent on playing the odds!