Bye Bye Bambi – The Dangerous Deer of Middle Tennessee
What are you afraid of?
Do you think you can guess my biggest Tennessee fear? I’d be willing to bet it’s not what you might think, but the title of this post definitely gives part of it away.
No, it’s not being kidnapped by hill people and forced to live in a bunker surviving on Mountain Dew and Slim Jims. (My friend Justin predicted that would happen after I made the trek from Los Angeles to Nashville. Seriously, do people not have a clue what Nashville is actually like?)
My biggest Tennessee fear is…
dun dun dun…
Specifically, colliding into a deer with my car. No joke, deer are one of the most dangerous animals to humans because of the accidents they cause – more than 1 million each year, in fact, resulting in approximately $1.1 billion in property damage and 200 human deaths annually. This fear is legitimate people!
When I was a little girl and my mom and I would go visit relatives in their small towns around Springfield, IL, I was always on “deer duty.” I would sit forward, alert, scanning the periphery for Bambi and his friends as we drove through farmland and wound around back roads that flanked the Sangamon River and its tributaries. I’m happy to say, we never hit one.
After moving to Nashville, I was thrust into a new kind of “deer duty.” The kind where you’re cruising through back roads alone and you have to both watch for wildlife and pay attention to traffic. I see deer all.of.the.time. It’s like they know how terrified I am of hitting them, so my car suddenly becomes a magnet for them. My roommate says she never sees them. Maybe she’s not looking quite as obsessively as I am? Countless deer have watched me drive by and scampered in front of the Subaru in the 6 months I’ve been here. They’re mocking me.
Monday night I was driving home from work and three deer crossed about 300 feet in front of my car. The fields on the side of Murray Lane were full on them – eating and generally being out in abundance during mating season. I was tired from my first day back in the office after a week of non-stop travel and little sleep. My friend Ana texted me and said she was craving Red Lobster; she wanted to know if I was still in Cool Springs. I told her I was almost home and didn’t feel like turning back around, just wanted to crawl in bed and make nighty. We hadn’t hung out in a few weeks and she really wanted to go, so she offered to pick me up. Normally I wouldn’t make my friend drive from Hermitage to Bellevue to go to dinner in Cool Springs, but I was really that tired and…you know…I’m turning into a little old lady afraid to drive after dark because Bambi.
I ran some errands and Ana came to get me around 7pm. We had just turned on to Hillsboro off of Sneed.
I said, “Now, be careful on the next turn, I saw a lot of deer here on my way home.”
About 2 minutes later…smack. Bye bye Bambi. My worst Tennessee fear realized as we slammed into a deer stopped in the road right in front of the car. Immediately, I felt terrible for having Ana come pick me up and like a failure for not seeing the deer. It was crossing in front of a car coming the opposite direction and we couldn’t see it for the opposing car’s headlights. Deer in headlights. Literally.
Fortunately the car was operative, so we continued to Red Lobster. We didn’t want to get out on a pitch-black back road and end up getting hit ourselves. There was more damage to the car than we expected, and some fur stuck in the grill and on the passenger headlight (yuck!), which I told her to leave there for the insurance adjuster to see. Since we weren’t sure if the deer was dead on impact or continued into the woods, I took the same road home the next day from work and did not see the body. We are going to assume that Bambi was shaken up, but scampered off into the woods to sleep it off, with a few bald spots…
And yes, I’m still terrified of deer and see them every day on my back road commute.