Sunday, November 04, 2007

Deer, Meet Teen. Teen, Meet Deer.

Just as Tom, Kat and I were finishing dinner this evening, the phone rang. I picked up the receiver, ready to hand the phone to Tom, since his mother's call arrives like clockwork every Sunday evening. Instead of seeing her name on the Caller ID display, though, I saw Aleks' cell number and answered immediately.

"Mom"? Aleks' voice was shaking. "I just passed out."

"What?! Where are you? Are you OK?" The only thing worse than getting a call like this from your kid who you know is on the road is getting it from a stranger. Fortunately, I was talking to Aleks and he was talking to me, so I knew that, at least in terms of "worst scenario," things were OK.

"I'm OK, but I almost just killed a deer. And I almost just crashed the car. And I almost just killed myself. And I'm really shaky."

"OK, slow down, Aleks," I said slowly, trying to calm down my own beating heart. "In fact, are you driving right now?"

"Yeah," he admitted.

"As soon as it's safe, pull over," I suggested. (No -- I demanded.) "Then take a breath and tell me what happened."

At that point, it all came spilling out. Aleks can be dramatic when he has a good story to tell, but this evening no extra drama was necessary. It turns out that Aleks was delivering pizzas (his new job) on a steep, dark, forested road. As he drove down the hill, a deer suddenly appeared immediately in front of his car -- like a few short feet in front of it.

If you haven't seen a deer lately, there are two things you should know. First, they are HUGE. Certainly taller than a small Ford sedan and heavier than you might imagine from any holiday lawn decorations you've observed in your neighborhood. And second, when encountered on a road they are dangerous, whether they suddenly leap in front of your car (as is what happened to Tom 10 years ago; that totalled our car, but Tom was fortunately unhurt) or whether you just come upon them standing paralyzed in the roadway, the proverbial "deer in the headlights."

That's the deer that greeted Aleks this evening. Aleks attributes his quick reaction time to the two Red Bull he drank on the way to work (grrrr!). He swerved to avoid the deer, then he swerved to avoid a tree... and another... and who knows what else. Who knows, indeed -- because as soon as the car came to a stop, he hyperventilated and passed out! When he came to (most likely almost immediately), the deer was gone. That was good news for the deer.

Aleks was OK. That was good news for Aleks and well... for US!

And the car hadn't crashed. That was good news for our already sky-high insurance rates.

Aleks decided to drive on (ever the diligent employee!), and to call us. After telling him to pull over, I suggested that he call his boss and tell her what happened and let her know he'd be a few minutes. She was, of course, understanding.

Tom and I immediately drove to Aleks, where he was still sitting in the car, calm enough now to tell us the whole story -- this time with his characteristic humor and story-telling flare. Apparently Aleks and the deer had a reckoning in the split second that their eyes met and both lives were spared. Aleks is sure that his story is better than the deer's -- though I certainly feel for Mrs. Deer.

Encountering a 17-year-old pizza delivery guy in the middle of your road in your forest when you're minding your own business late at night has to have been pretty dang unnerving for the little -- er, I mean enormous -- fella!

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Rebecca said...

Goodness Carol. I'm so glad he's okay. He is very lucky - (I honestly dread the day my boys start driving)

(I have a defensive driving book which suggests that you should NEVER swerve (at high speed) to avoid an animal on the road - because the alternatives - hitting on oncoming car, or a tree are much more dangerous to the driver and/or passengers. An animal is soft and moveable - and although you will most probably kill it, it is much better than having a dead person)

Anyway - your son clearly did the right thing for the time as he is okay.....thankfully.

Betsy said...

Oh my gosh, Carol, how scary! Am so glad to hear that he was able to avoid the deer, the trees, etc and made it out OK!

Anonymous said...

Oh, my! He was very lucky! What is with all the deer lately? We saw 8 hit and left on the side of the road when we drove to Chicago last week.

Anonymous said...

Having lived in Wisconsin for 14 years where deer are encountered routinely, I know that Rebecca is right. You should never swerve to avoid an animal on the road. Luckily for Aleks, his outcome was positive. What a scare, though.

Goofball said...

Yikes!!! Thank goodness all is fine.

Well that is definetely a phonecall you wouldn't get in Belgium.

Dixie said...

Holy smokes! What a fright!

Jen said...

Thank goodness he was okay! What a relief. Those deer can be real menaces, even if it is their woodlands, etc.

Anonymous said...

I bet Aleks was so glad that you and Tom came to him. When I had a car accident a few summers ago, the first thing I did was call my parents (who were visiting for a few weeks) and wail through my sobs that I'd crashed my car. They were there in three minutes and I'd never been so glad to see them. And I was 26 at the time -- proving you're never too old to want your mum and dad!

anno said...

He sounds very, very lucky. I drive down country roads in the dark far too often -- this is from one of my worst nightmares.

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