06 February 2009

I'm a walking talking miracle from Vietnam

Ok, maybe not Vietnam, but from southern Illinois for sure. So I may have mentioned I hit a deer this week. What I did not mention was that I didn't see it. It was dark. There was a lot of traffic that night. You don't expect to see deer in the road, and I surely didn't. I didn't see it when I hit it. I didn't see it after I hit it. I didn't know what I hit. A driver coming in the opposite direction had on his/her bright lights and I was diverting my eyes to avoid being completely blinded by the lights. Just as I passed the oncoming car, I hit something. I didn't know what.

I stopped, walked around my car, saw the broken headlight with deer hair stuck in it and put two and two together.

This ain't rocket science. Right? Unfortunate, but these things happen. Especially on that road at night. I was okay. My car wasn't badly damaged. Although I did have a completely busted headlight (which was fixed yesterday) and felt badly about the deer, I was feeling pretty lucky about the whole incident. That was, until today.

Today, I went and got a car wash. You know, coin operated, high pressure wand and foaming brush kind. While I was washing the car, I noticed something I had missed before. Here's the car where the damage occurred. (Light now fixed.)

No, there was still only minor damage to the body of the car as you can see. When looking at this damage, I figured I had bumped the deer....ok, you don't actually bump a deer at 55 miles per hour, but I didn't think I hit the deer head-on or anything. I thought I hit the deer and it veered off to my right. I was sure this was right, otherwise I'd have seen the deer. Right?

The night of the accident, Paul pointed out some blood splatters on the car hood. I thought nothing of it. I figured the blood had just splattered up onto the hood. It still did not alter the scenario I had devised to explain the evidence. That was, until today when I saw this.

This is the driver's side windshield wiper. In case you don't see it, let's look closer.

This, my friends, is as they say, an entirely different ball of wax. This is evidence that in fact, blows my theory of what happened all to hell. This means, for those keeping score at home, that the deer in question did not bounce off to my right, but rather went over the hood of the car. This revelation was further supported by the evidence, now washed off, that there was blood splatters on the driver's side door. Honestly, I cannot for the life of me, explain that last bit.

As I figure it now, this must have been the trajectory of the deer across my car that night.

Perhaps this isn't freaking you out, but it is certainly freaking me out. Because, let's review the facts as I have explained them earlier. I NEVER SAW THE FREAKING DEER BEFORE I HIT IT, WHEN I HIT IT, OR AFTER I HIT IT. I got out of my car, looked back at the road and saw....nothing. The only reason I knew I hit a deer was because I saw the deer hair stuck in the broken headlamp.

How do you hit something, have it careen across the hood of your car, most certainly crossing your field of vision (even if only peripheral field of vision), come THIS CLOSE to getting killed, and NEVER SEE IT? I was not drinking, tired, or distracted. I had only looked down toward my instrument panel for seconds. How is this possible?

Curiously, we were talking today about the unreliability of eyewitness testimony. After this episode, I may never trust what I see (or don't see) again. The only explanation I have for what happened are speculative hypotheses, prioritized by subjective probability:

1. I looked down longer than I thought--for more than just a few seconds--and I had hit the deer and missed all of it.
2. It happened so fast that my brain never registered the action.
3. It was too dark to see the deer?

I was freaked out before all this about not seeing the deer. But now to have proof that the deer passed directly in front of my eyes and I never saw it? I may never drive at night again. Ok, except for tonight, but that's only because we're going to see Clint Eastwood and nothing bad can happen when you are going to see Clint Eastwood. Right?


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