Friday, November 30, 2007

Another Day, Another Truck


In the immortal words of the dwarf...

I am NOT Happy.

I finally finished my CAP survey at 11:00 last night with several hours to spare before it's due today. Thank freakin' God. If I never see another DVD of swimming sperm it'll be too soon. The only thing lacking from this one was a soundtrack. It was disappointingly silent. Lori suggested "Flight of the Bumblebees" as an option and then I couldn't get it out of my head as I watched.

So I headed home at 11:00 singing, oddly, The Who's "Pinball Wizard" on the drive home, and I was trying to puzzle out some of the lyrics. Remember the bridge?

"I thought I was_____, but I just handed my pinball crown to him." What??

What did Roger Daltrey think he was?

Anyway, I was driving south, concentrating on Pinball Wizard, when a deer appeared in front of my truck. I never saw it run out there. It just...was. So I stood on the brake and whipped the wheel to the left. Cleverly, the deer ran to my left also. I hit it broadside at about 45 miles per hour and it exploded in front of my eyes.

You know how time slows down in a crisis? I was standing on the brake, fishtailing towards a ditch, watching the deer's head and neck fly over the roof of my truck while the front half and the back half of the torso broke apart at the ribs, and I was thinking, "Huh! I never would have expected it to do that!"

The truck continued to spin after the impact and eventually it landed in a shallow ditch on the northbound side of the road. It was smoking like mad but still running somehow, so I turned it around and ran it back up the hill and onto the road.

It was making a godawful racket; the valved were clattering, something was dragging underneath, the radiator was steaming and hissing, there was a grinding, scraping sound coming from the engine, but was still moving. My left headlight was pointed at the treetops on the right side of the road and my right headlight was gone completely. The frame was bent, so I was pointed in a vaguely southeasterly direction while the wheels were aimed due south. But it was still moving. Yay!

I was about 15 miles from home on a dark road without too much traffic, and it would have been a long, cold walk home if it had died completely, so I slowly crept towards home. It was tricky, since neither of my headlights were actually pointed at the road, but I figured what the hell. What was I going to do, hit another deer? At that speed, it would have laughed and walked away.

After about 5 miles the heat stopped working and I noticed that the temperature gauge was pegged at the top, and the oil pressure gauge was pegged at the bottom. But it was still moving. I made it to my mom's house and thought that if I get desperate, I can wake her up. But my mom isn't good in a crisis, so I was hoping not to have to go that route. A couple more miles and I was in Cobden, which was dark, cold and empty. Even the cop who stakes out the place near the park where the Mexicans hang out and play basketball...even he was gone. The OneStop was closed, the taco stand was shuttered...Fuzzy's Bar may have been open, but since the truck was still moving, I kept going. At that point I was thinking that if I had to walk now, it would only be 7 miles home.

But the truck kept going...loudly and smokily, but still moving. Just as I pulled into my driveway, whatever had been dragging fell off and I ran it over. I'm still hoping it was a truck part and not a deer part. I parked the truck and shut it off and one last cloud of smoke belched forth. Now it's as dead as the deer, and probably just as unsightly. list of things to do today is to get the other truck going again, and put the valiant little Ranger out by the road with a "Free" sign on it's windshield. Someone will take it for parts, I'm sure.

This is precisely why I buy $400 trucks on eBay. Although this was scary and inconvenient, it was a fairly inexpensive disaster. Besides oil changes and new wiper blades, I hadn't invested a dime in that truck in the 6 months I owned it, which means that the price was roughly $75 a month, plus the cost of gas. Luckily the other truck, the one I paid $300 for, is my favorite. I'll get that one back up and running and after Christmas I'll start shopping for another crappy eBay backup truck again.

This morning my right leg hurts from ankle to hip from braking so hard, but otherwise I'm pretty okay.

But I am NOT Happy.


SP said...

I've always wondered what it would look like when the deer sort of explodes on impact. I see the remains of it on the highway all the time. I always assumed they were hit by a semi, who knew a little truck could do that much damage too.

I'm morbid, I know.

Glad to hear that you are safe and OK (besides a bit sore).


So now you know: a) what the expression "deer in the headlights" REALLY means; and, b) what Roger Daltry was before he handed his pinball crown to the Pinball Wizard... he was the Bally table king!!! (Bally being the brand name of super-fine pinball machines)

Ev said...

You'll be glad to know, SP, that when they fly apart that fast, no actual blood gets on anything. After all the parts land, I'm assuming blood flows like crazy, but I wasn't willing to stick around and test that theory.

And, my dear Urban Pedestrian, thank you so much for the Pinball Wizard line. I think I never ever would have guessed that without help.

Kwach said...

Maybe it's just because it wasn't that pretty to start with, but oddly, the truck doesn't LOOK like it should be dead. Yes, it looks blind, but the hood is barely dented. It's just that the entire front grill and radiator are shoved about a foot farther toward the tailgate than they ought to be, but it's shoved in symmetrically so it doesn't look all that bad. Not nearly as horrible as the SUV looked when the last deer committed vehicular suicide. That one was a big buck with a huge rack of antlers who jumped out of a ditch and t-boned her, nearly impaling her skull through the drivers side window. The whole drivers side was crushed, the hood was crumpled, and there was deer hair stuck in every crevice.

I'm the one who's scared to death to drive at night, because I drive a convertible and I just know the deer I hit is going to fly up onto the top, tear through it and come into the car with me.

Just another reason to stop ever leaving home.


Cell Phone, all I have to say.

Suzanne said...

This is very ironic because I was almost that deer this afternoon, although the vehicle in question was a shiny new BMW, not a $400 eBay truck. The shit went down as I was crossing the street. The little walk sign was on, but the shiny beemer decided that there was no need for him to stop at the red light. As he sped through it and narrowly missed me (I do wonder if my head and neck would have flipped over his roof, blood droplets corroding the gray paint), I threw a mini oatmeal cookie at the car. It hit the passenger side window and shattered. I decided that in the future, I am going to carry paintballs in my pocket to throw at cars that nearly make me into a headless deer.

Suzanne said...

Oh, and I am glad that you are OK.

Ev said...

Maybe the driver of your BMW thought you were one of Urban Pedestrian's stockbrokers. Everyone knows that it's deer, squirrel and stockbroker season... provided you have a valid stockbroker stamp on your hunting license, of course.

Linda said...

You are so right about the weird thoughts that go through your brain while a crisis is in full swing... It's almost like there's a little analyst in there taking notes while the rest of the brain is freaking out! Great post, glad you're ok!