Monday, October 03, 2005

Machine 1, nature 0

I have returned, and according to the Greensboro Herald-Journal, here is the news:

• The owner of the local sporting goods store has been elected mayor of Union Point. His grandfather, father, and uncle have all also served as mayor of Union Point.

• On November 8, residents of Greensboro will vote on whether to issue mixed-drink licenses for eating establishments. The mayor is quoted as saying, "This is for restaurants, not for honky tonks. You must sell a certain percent of food in your business to be eligible for a license."

I just thought I'd share.

I had a wonderful trip to Tuscaloosa. Not because it was Tuscaloosa (although of course everyone should visit the original Dreamland BBQ, which has much better atmosphere than--and the same mindbendingly good ribs as--the franchises that have spun off from it, and The Waysider, which was apparently where Bear Bryant ate his breakfast every day), but because my wonderful friends were there. And I doubt that I'll go back anytime soon, because these friends are moving to Salt Lake City. They'll be way too far away for my tastes, but then again, SLC is a place that is highly appealing to visit. Maybe the s.o. and I can go sometime during Sundance.

Even though, as I just said, I doubt I'll be visiting that part of Alabama again anytime soon, note to self: I should really remember to check sports schedules before embarking. I spent a lot of the journey sitting in traffic and/or dodging drunken idiots. Also, unrelatedly, I sat in traffic in Birmingham for an hour because of (the traffic reporter on the radio said) "a large piece of steel in the road."

And then, almost home, I went to pass a slow-moving vehicle on I-20 between Covington and Madison, and HOLY SHIT, there was a deer standing right in the middle of the lane. I had nowhere to go because the deer had run in front of the vehicle I was passing, which of course meant that they slammed on their brakes and ended up right beside me. There was no time to think, just WHAM, and then it was over. I was clear-headed enough to notice that somehow I still had both my headlights and the car was running fine, so I continued to the next exit and then stopped at a gas station.

The deer was a small doe and I was doing 70, so no, I'm certain she didn't fare well. I was much luckier, however. My car sustained the least damage I've ever seen a car sustain from hitting a deer. My front driver's-side turn signal was vaporized, and the front corner panel was crumpled in slightly. Also, the force of the impact somehow popped my driver's-side rear-view mirror out of its shell.* But other than that, nothing. It must have been a glancing blow. I say "must have" because all I remember is deer and then no deer. I can kind of remember a sound and a feeling of impact, but that's it.

My first reaction was--and is--to be supremely annoyed. Can I not have JUST ONE car that's really nice? This car is our newest, nicest one (a 1994 Camry, which by our standards is brand new and extremely high-end) and runs like a dream. I got it from my grandparents only a couple of months ago. I don't carry collision insurance on cars, because anything we would own tends to have a resale value of less than a standard insurance deductible. So the best I will be able to do, repair-wise, is to have someone bang the panel more or less back into shape and replace the turn signal light. It will never look the same.

On the other hand, I know in my heart I should feel really, really grateful. Ever since I moved to the country I have been waiting for the moment to come when I hit a deer. There are just too many of them; there's no way it won't happen. But now it has happened, in the place I least expected it (Interstate 20--what in the world?!), and I'm not dead, and there is not a deer embedded in my windshield, and my car is not totaled. It was almost a non-event.**

Of course, it could happen again. I know that. But I do feel as though a little bit of the deer-hitting karma has been defused, at least for now.

* This is slightly tragicomedic from our point of view, because our 1990 Honda Accord is also missing its driver's side rear-view mirror, thanks to some student in Athens who sideswiped it while it was parked outside of our old place. On the bright side, I already know how to drive safely sans that particular mirror.

** From my point of view; obviously not from the deer's.