On my way to school last Tuesday for a group of meetings that I couldn’t miss, I hit my 8th animal since starting this particular commute.
That’s right. Eight. In two and a half years. A senior colleague told me that in 20 years of driving the same drive, he hasn’t hit anything. About a decade ago I commuted to a different location, but yet from here, and for two years I never hit a damned thing. Clearly, I’ve been cursed in the intervening years. I’m starting to rack up such large numbers that I think I have to make a Roadkill Life-List just so I don’t forget them all. This would be bad because when I get to the Pearly Gates and have to have to account for all of my evil deeds, if I can’t even remember that 589th chipmunk that I will inevitably hit on my way home from my last day of commuting when I retire in 25 years, I’ll be fucked for the next karmic cycle. (How’s that for mixin’ up the religious myths?)
So, here’s the list (roughly in order…)
1. Exploding Robin, August 2005
2. Suicidal Chipmunk, September 2005.
3. Mysterious Ratlike Critter, February 2006 (It was either a large rat or a small possum, but it was cold and snowy and nightime, so I didn’t stop to investigate.)
4. Another Suicidal Chipmunk, March 2006.
5. The Deer,November 2006
6. Ziggy the Squirrell, April 2007 (It dodged back and forth and back and forth while I tried to brake, but then ultimately made the wrong decision — he Zigged when he should have Zagged.)
7. Yet Another Suicidal Chipmunk, May 2007
8. Speedy the Squirrel, November 2007 (This sucker was so fast, I just saw a flash in my peripheral vision and then felt the thump.)
For the first 7, I was completely upset when it happened. I cried. I said a little prayer/mantra/blessing to the Big Wow asking he/she/it to look out for the soul of the little thing that I had just so totally obliterated. (Well, except for the Deer — for that one I was just so freaked out I think I forgot to thank the universe for the sacrifice of that animal to Petroleum, God of the Commute and to Tenure, Goddess of the Academic Career.) But, by #7 I confess I was becoming a little cynical and perhaps instead of making up my own little prayer I just repeated a great line from Buffy that Willow said when she made an animal sacrifice in order to bring Buffy back from the dead. (What? It could happen.) “May You Find Wings to the Kingdom.” It sounded vaguely religious and thankful but yet nonspecfically churchy. But for this last one, though, I swear, I laughed out loud. The damned thing just ran right under my wheels so quickly I didn’t even have time to stop. I was driving along, minding my own business, keeping my eyes on the road, and then flash, whump, no more critter. Maybe I’m like Dr. Kevorkian for small furry things. They go all terminal and decide it’s their time, and so wait for me to come along and put them out of their misery. Anyway, on Tuesday this squirrell dove under my tires before I even knew what happened. OF COURSE in the only 2 days this whole semester that I drove up to campus, I hit a critter. Statistically, I can see how you might hit a few animals in say, 45 days of commuting per semester. But, shit, I went TWICE and hit something. What the fuck is up?
I’ve decided now that maybe I’m attracting the roadkill in some way, so I’m going to shift my thinking about it. I’ve adopted a whole new attitude about this whole thing. From now on, I’m going to be seeking out animals to hit. That’s right, little rodents, you better watch out, because here I come — Stewgad and her Flaming Subaru of Death want YOU. And, just to sweeten the deal, I’ve made up a bingo card. Perhaps the emu, platypus, pterodactyl and moose are a bit of a stretch, but I’m really holding out hope that I’ll bag that flying monkey. So, little mammals, consider yourselves warned. I’m comin’ for ya.