I’m driving my family north on Route 7 towards Massachusetts a few miles south of Kent, CT, and I’d admiring the bucolic scenery.
It’s a beautiful Saturday afternoon this past Memorial Day weekend, and we’re off for a little R&R…
But you know what they say…
Life can turn on a dime.
And this is what happens over the next seven seconds…
Time Slows Down as an Emergency Emerges
I notice off to the right just ahead what seems to be a large wild turkey.
(Well, isn’t that interesting!)
Then, it appears he’s moving.
He’s moving fast.
In fact, he’s taking off.
Taking off into my lane.
He’s on a direct intercept course with my car!
I know there’s another car behind me, and I quickly check to confirm there’s no oncoming traffic.
I start to veer into the opposite lane to try to avoid the flying beast.
He keeps heading towards me.
I continue veering away.
But my evasive maneuver is not sufficient…
My car shudders with the direct hit.
(I feel like I’m on the Battlestar Galactica in the middle of a Cylon attack.)
I look over to the right. It’s a side impact near the passenger window, where my horrified wife is sitting. She seems okay…
So I keep driving and stare ahead to ensure we stay on the road.
The bird vanishes from my view. He must have tumbled back…
(and I’m fortunately spared a mental image of impact)
A few warped neurons in the corner of my brain compel me to reach for an invisible intercom and bark out “Damage report!”
But the rest of my noggin maintains my hold on reality…
I force myself again to take another peek at the impact zone.
The window is intact and not cracked.
But the side mirror has been destroyed and is hanging lifelessly on the side of the car by a lone, frayed white cable, blowing about in the wind.
It would seem this absent-minded turkey hit the corner edge of my RAV4, and then tore off the side mirror as the car continued on forward.
I finally find a safe spot to pull over and survey the situation more closely.
And my sleeping son wakes up.
(Yeah, he missed all the action.)
He sees me holding and examining the shattered mirror and its fractured plastic housing.
“Dada, what happened to the mirror?”
I think for a millisecond how to sanitize the incident for a four year old.
There is none.
I simply say, “The mirror was old, and it fell off.”
He accepts my explanation and immediately suggests we get a new car.
(He’s a helpful lad.)
In Search of Duct Tape
I strap myself back in, and we drive a short distance to a hardware store in Kent to get some duct tape and bubble wrap and then strap down the damaged parts until I can get it all repaired.
I say to the man behind the counter, “You’re never going to believe this, but a wild turkey just flew into my car.”
He replies, “Oh yeah… that happens all the time around here in the spring.”
The fact that I’m not alone helps me feel a little less like a turkey, but not by much…
What Did You Do on Your Summer Vacation?
I guess this incident brings new meaning to my earlier conversation on the idea that ‘I Am a Road Warrior.’
I may have to go cold turkey on driving the back roads next spring…
In hindsight though, I feel quite fortunate…
- The location of the impact zone minimized the potential damage
- The glass didn’t shatter
- And my family survived the incident without a scratch
(I cannot say the same for the turkey.)
Fate is kind, and my life goes on…
The insurance appraiser quickly paid me a visit to talk turkey.
(He told me he’s seen worse.)
Last week, my mechanic replaced the mirror and buffed out the scratches on the car.
And now, the only remaining remnant is one of those ‘funny’ stories burned into my memory. I just hope the rest of my summer isn’t quite as exciting!