Thursday, July 25, 2013

"I think I just hit a bear!"

Friday morning I was headed to work in the family Hyundai wagon. It is better on gas and even though I would prefer to drive my Subaru every day Megan insists, because she is frugal, no cheap is a better word.  I left the house about 7:15 and decided that because I didn’t have an early meeting that day I would take an alternate route to my normal choices of gravel roads or more gravel roads. The alternate route is all blacktop, as it’s called around here, and passes some really serene farmland. The journey is a few miles longer but the sun was shining, NPR was on the radio and temperature was perfect.
As with most secondary blacktop roads around here there is little to no shoulder…blacktop, 12” of gravel, 12” of “mowed” grass, the great Netherlands of Iowa, that’s the typical formula. As the road dipped and crested, twisted and turned I was enveloped with the happiness that only a good drive on a sleepy morning can give you. As I headed uphill towards one of the many farmhouses that dot the countryside I saw a bear sized raccoon in a full tilt spring breaking cover, and in one stride crossing the measly 2 feet of safety into my roadway. This bad boy neither looked concerned nor showed any signs of stopping, and all of this happened roughly 20 feet from the front bumper.

Scene of the animal attack, Farmhouse on right
I won’t bore you with a time and distance calculation, but hitting the breaks wasn’t even an option that my central nervous system was willing to entertain. My brain only formed S and H before I felt and heard the impact and the giant bastard was sent tumbling under my car. I finished the last two letters in my head and looked up into the rearview mirror just in time to see a trashcan can sized clump of fur spitting out all the plastic it had gathered while temporarily under my car.
Looking forward as I slowed, I realized that the farmhouse I had been approaching had a car at the end of the driveway waiting for me to pass so he could pull out. The driver witnessed the whole event and was sporting the classic eyes wide open, clenched fist in front of his mouth OOOOOOOHHH reaction. Seeing his expression instantly turned the situation humorous to me and I laughed out loud, not knowing the damage that had been done.  
Later that day, the quiet owner of the local body shop informed me I would need to replace the bumper, the grill, the splitter, both inner wheel wells, the air conditioning condenser and possibly the radiator; all told $1,524.64 plus tax. I took this news in stride already being assured by Allstate that animal “attacks” are covered under our comprehensive insurance policy. Bonus! No deductible and no increase in premiums… I feel like I’m in “Good Hands”.
I later relayed the story to my sister Jill, who is proud to be a city dweller and considers everything but manicured parks in Beverly Hills… “nature”. She was concerned if the beast had been killed or not. “Hell if I know, I wish so”, was my response. I wasn’t about to stop and check, because if it wasn’t killed by from the impact from a 1 ton car I surely wasn’t going to tussle with it. Truthfully, I’m unsure that if it came down do it I would have the raw strength to choke this thing out let alone fit my hands around is thick neck. Then in classic blasé fashion Jill asks “Don’t you have like, a gun in your car or something?
”WHAT!? No I don’t have a gun in car! They don’t issue you a gun to carry around in your car when you move to the country. Jeez-us…
With half a chuckle my sister scoffs “Well… I don’t know.”

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