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Monday, February 22, 2010

Lighten Up, Already

Pin It My long-time friend Becky and I were driving home from a concert the other night when she reminded me of this little deer incident that occurred back before the kids and houses and jobs and everything else started taking over our lives--back, really, when we were just kids ourselves. We were probably in our early twenties, and driving down a relatively uninhabited stretch of 29, heading out to go hiking at Crabtree Falls.

I remember rolling down the highway in the middle of the morning in my little hunter green Suzuki Sidekick, and pausing in mid-sentence. "Is that....yeah, I think it is. Look at that crazy deer!" I squinted up at the opposite lanes in the far distance. My eyesight wasn't great to begin with, but that sure did look like a deer, bounding across the two opposing lanes of traffic.

Becky looked and murmured her agreement. I slowed down a little and we watched in silence as it dodged cars left and right until it made the relative safety of the grassy median. There we lost sight of it for a few moments. The median was wide and interspersed with trees and scrub bushes--plenty of cover for an animal to shelter in. "Wait! There it is!" I caught sight of it again. It had come to the edge of our side of the median and paused, watching the oncoming traffic. "Unreal," I muttered. "I can't believe it actually made it across--"

Around that time, the deer apparently decided it had waited in the median long enough. Or perhaps some flashing red "RUN NOW!" signal that only deer can observe lit up. Whatever the reason, the deer took off, directly into the approaching cars.

Naturally, the only vehicle that made contact with the deer was mine. While I watched, mouth agape at the animal's daring, it leapt directly into the side of my Sidekick, glancing heavily and in awkward slow motion all along every single panel there was to actually make contact with before lumbering off into the woods that lined the other side of the road. I pulled over on the side of the road to inspect the damage.

There were beautiful big indentations all along my vehicle, and hair caught in the wheels. (I'm sure those aren't the technical terms, but hey. I'm a girl.) Random thoughts skipped through my head. My insurance is going to go up. Does it count as a hit-and-run if I leave the scene? Or is the deer the hit-and-run culprit? Who do I exchange insurance cards with? What a loser deer, playing in traffic. Dang. I really wanted to go hiking.

After a few minutes I put my hands on my hips and shrugged my shoulders. "Well. It's done now. Let's go."

I climbed back in the car. Beck followed, a little slower. "Umm...are you sure? What about insurance? Or the police? Aren't you going to call them?"

It was Saturday. "I'll call them later," I said. "Right now we're going hiking."

She looked at me like I was crazy. "Are you sure?"

"Can't do anything about it now. I'll just take pictures later."

And so we went hiking, and enjoyed the day. And I took pictures, and perhaps received a teensy-tiny lecture from my insurance adjuster's secretary about not calling the police at the scene of an accident, but I pled a blond moment and was forgiven.

Beck reminded me of this incident as we drove home along the same stretch of highway, and warmed my heart a little when she told me that she'd never forgotten how I'd managed to shrug off and get past something that would have bothered her profoundly. It would have ruined the day, she said, and probably more than that. It taught her a lesson about lightening up, and not taking things so seriously.

I thought guiltily, jeez. Here I am, more than ten years later, needing to learn my own lesson. I'm a mother now, and I take life way too seriously more often than not. If I got a flat tire out on the road with my kids in tow, I'd probably freak out. Let's face it: I freak out when Lawson forgets when he's supposed to exchange Valentines. I freak out when someone changes plans on me unexpectedly (you mean I need to adapt!?)

It's a fact of this life that things will happen that are out of our control. Handling them with grace and humor eases the load a little...I'd forgotten that.

I've gotten way too serious. I need to lighten up. Thanks, Beck, for reminding me of who I used to be.

Here's to deer with timing issues: may they dent your Sidekick but not your spirits.


Rachel said...

You've been reading my mind again Lori! Admit it! You saw that hippie guy standing on my shoulder waving "peace" telling me, "Let it go maaaaan".

:) "Men (and women) are that they might have joy......."

PMC said...

LOL. Again...it is like...I don't know...we must of all been cut from the same piece of fabulous color cloth. Whoever cut it did a really good job though, don't you think?

007penguin said...

Great story, and who doesn't love a good deer story! I have a doozy that Teachinfourth knows about which I will someday have to share.

Reporting something like this to insurance - highly overrated!

thanks for sharing.

Richard & Natalie said...

Yes, Lori, You should've heard Rachel's talk in church yesterday. Miss "Joy" told us all how we all need to lighten up so we can experience the joy in our lives. And.It.was.Fabulous!
Now you're telling me the same thing...Hmmm...guess I better listen; it sounds like someone is trying to tell me something.

Gerb said...

Oh, deer!

Mamma has spoken said...

Had a friend who had a run in with a deer, or I should say run through. The deer hopped into his truck, breaking the driver's window, kicked out the wind shield and then jumped out the passenger window, breaking it of course. He called all the necessary people who didn't know what to do: police didn't know weither to do an accident report since the deer was gone and he didn't need medical attention. He called the insurance adjuster and he wanted the police report.
Glad your insurance adjuster knew what to do and you were able to lighten up and forget about it for the day.
I would have been headed home on the phone to everyone and anyone trying to get things done ASAP....

Anaise said...

Your line, "You mean I need to adapt!?" is something I mutter in my head all the time.

Oh, how I struggle to lighten up!

But then, I can't plead having a blond moment. :)

Lyndee said...

I have hit many a deer in my life span. That's what happenes when you live far up in the mountains. Never knew you were supposed to call it in. I always considered it a token of the deers love for me...you know, something to remember them by.

Teachinfourth said...

I, too, have hit a few deer in my lifetime. Never called the police, but always the insurance (unless it wasn't too bad). It probably would have ruined my day and I'd have pined silently; guess I need to learn to lighten up.

Lori said...

Rach--we have that little hoodoo thing going on, I reckon! Two halves of the same coin. :)

Misty---Okay, maybe that's a triple-sided coin...a pyramid coin...? Love the cloth analogy. ;)

007--you have piqued my interest...I have to hear this deer story, now. Please spill all on your blog!

Nat--that's just wild. God sends messages in funny ways, I guess, and occasionally just throws a deer at us. ;)


Bonnie--Good gracious. That was one determined deer. I'm just thankful mine didn't decide to ride shotgun.

Anaise--adaptation definitely gets more difficult for the female of the species as she ages... ;)

And I use the blond thing as often as I can...

Lyndee--I like that. Just a "token." I live in the mountains, too, and see deer all the time--I've learned to watch for the glint of their eyes in the headlights and pattern them fairly well, so that helps--but man, they're a nuisance.

Jase--Nah--you're the soul of levity. I can't see you pining. ;0)

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