Saturday, April 12, 2008

I Know I Live in the Country, but This is Ridiculous

"Accident is the name of the greatest of all inventors." ~Mark Twain

I'm a country girl by location, if not by heart. I grew up in a very small, rural town, spent a few years living in various cities during school, and now also live in a small, rural town, though this county is actually the fastest-growing in NY. While there's still lots of farmland and open countryside, we also have a few larger towns and small cities scattered around.

Since I live on 10 acres on the side of a Catskill mountain ridge, though, I'm used to seeing deer in my front yard, groundhogs under my porch, rabbits and squirrels amid the birds, and the occasional flock of turkeys parading across my driveway. Fine.

I am not, however, used to giant turkey vultures dive-bombing my car.

Yesterday morning, I dropped hubby off at work (we work for the same school, though 2 locations about 3 miles apart), where he picked up his car and went to grab something for breakfast. I was heading across town when all of a sudden this giant black shadow appears over my windshield. Then there is an enormous thud.

And then everything slows down as I try to process what just happened. This is my brain, in the span of about 5 seconds:

What the he** was that? Did I just - did I hit something?

Wait...the windshield is completely shattered.

Was that a - deer? But it fell onto my car. Some kind of bird?

Holy crap, did I just hit a person???

(Oh, and I should mention that of course this is hubby's BRAND NEW car that he's had for 3 months, that I was driving because my own needs an inspection sticker.)

So I pulled over and called 911. I would love to hear that recording again:

Me: "Um, yeah, I'm on ________ and I'm not really sure what just happened? I think I may have hit an animal?

911: "Do you see an animal anywhere around?"

Me: "Well, no, but, my windshield is shattered and..."

911: "Is there glass inside the car?"

Me: (Looking down at my lap for the first time) "Um, yes. (covering my lap and on the passenger seat. When did that happen?)

911: "Are you injured?"

Me: (Looking into the rear view mirror just to be sure) "No. I'm fine."

911: "Okay, I'm sending someone right now. Just stay right there."

Like I'm going somewhere?

The cop arrived about 5 minutes later, and I swear he was 12. Okay, maybe 16. What's the minimum age for the police academy these days?

Cop: "Ah, hello, there, miss."

Me: (so grateful he didn't call me ma'am) "Hi. I think I hit an animal."

Cop: "Yup, that's a deer strike."

Me: "Are you sure? Because it felt like a huge bird."

Cop: (leaning over the windshield and picking something out of the glass) "Oh yeah - look at that! Those are feathers."

So he goes up the road to check it out, and meanwhile hubby has come to my rescue. I will tell you that I am very proud: I never cried. I was shaken up, but I was quite pleased with whatever part of me was able to rationally make the phone calls I needed to and proceed on to school a few minutes later.

Cop comes back a few minutes later. "Looks like you hit a turkey buzzard. It's flat now." Chuckles.

Well, I am an animal lover, and I did say a little "I'm sorry...go to the Rainbow Bridge" to the bird, but I've gotta say, I wasn't overly sad about killing it. It clearly dove directly into my windshield.

To wrap up this saga, hubby and I switched cars, and the windshield was fixed by yesterday afternoon. Insurance is an amazing thing, in this case; New York has full glass coverage, so it didn't cost a thing.

I really am fine, though I do realize I'm fortunate that I wasn't hurt. And on the bright side, I figure it was good research, should I decide to write a car accident scene in an upcoming story. I'll post a picture or two of the damage, when I find where hubby put the digital camera. You've gotta see it - as windshield breaks go, it's a pretty glorious one. was your Friday?


Mom said...

I'm so glad you weren't hurt!!!

But what a weird story. Ain't country livin' fun??

Dru said...

oh my gosh! Do they fly that low?

I'm glad you're okay.

Maria Zannini said...

The bird was probably depressed and trying to kill itself. I think they call that "death by people minding their own business". (grin)

Glad you're okay.

Allie Boniface said...

Dru, I didn't know they did...but apparently, since they're scavengers, they do in fact fly low to the ground, to pick up the scent of gases left by decaying animals. Lovely, right?

windycindy said...

What a tough "bird" you are! Sorry, bad pun. You didn't cry. Maybe, your were in shock. I am glad that you are fine! The Catskills?! I have always wanted to visit them. Well, if the bird did have to die, at least it is just a scavenger. Take care and watch out for low-flying objects.....Cindi

Virginia said...

Friday was good for me, I am so glad you weren't hurt. We had a windsheild break in our car one time driving through a car wash it is very freaky. I have heard of birds flying into windows before but it has never happened to me yet.