Thursday, January 21, 2010

Where do I begin?

Here’s the story of the bizarre events of last evening:

I was driving home from work last night and was getting off the Parkway East onto 22 when I was confronted by the carcass of a dead animal (I think it was a deer, but could have been a large dog). It looked small enough to straddle with no problem, so I ran across it and heard a thump.

I thought nothing more of it and continued on my way home, and became wrapped up in this interesting news story on “All Things Considered” about how Robert B. Parker and Erich Segal both died over the weekend and how they were both from Cambridge, Mass., but were very different and how they reflected two different social classes in Cambridge and so forth. And I got to thinking about how my mom has always liked the “Spenser for Hire” books and how she once told me that Spenser has this Red Sox all-star team that he recites in his head whenever he’s in a tough situation. And how Erich Segal sounded like a pretty interesting guy even though he inflicted “Love Story” on the world, and how “Love means never having to say you’re sorry” has to be the dumbest line in cinematic history. And I wind up with the theme to “Love Story” stuck in my head. If only that were the worst part of the evening.

So I got home and looked under the car in the dark and saw a few small pieces of animal detritus hanging from the muffler but figured it was no big deal. And I told Jamie what happened and she said I should go wash the undercarriage of the car right away so that nothing sticks to the bottom of the car.

So I went to the nearest car wash and tried to rinse the car off in the hand-wash bay. Then, in better light, I saw not only the pieces on the muffler, but also a large piece that I had apparently been dragging for several miles. I was able to dislodge that with the high-pressure hose, but the job still wasn’t complete. I pulled the car forward and thought, “I can’t just leave animal guts lying in a car wash bay.” So I looked in my car for a bag—no luck. (Which wouldn’t have mattered because the car wash’s dumpster was padlocked, lest anybody put garbage in it.)

Luckily, there was a shovel propped against the dumpster, so I scooped up the random animal parts and chucked them in the field behind the car wash, making it a glorious night for the vultures.

So then I ran the car through the cheapest automatic car wash that offered an undercarriage wash. Bear in mind that I had already washed the car last week. When this is all over, I thought, I’m going to have the cleanest car in Allegheny County.

So I went through the car wash and found there will still those few hanging strings from the beginning. I spent 15 minutes on the ground, in near freezing temperatures, lying next to a wet car, vainly hitting venison piñatas with my ice scraper. Then it occurred to me—why not use the brush end instead of the scraper? Knocked them right off.

So now, as far as I know, my car is free of any random animal parts—although my dogs still find my car a little too interesting for total comfort.

Getting the theme from “Love Story” out of my head will be about as easy.

P.S. About a week after this incident, the weather grew colder and my car began to rattle behind the dash. I took it in to the dealer and was told that one of the exhaust hangers had been knocked out of position. What caused this? " was caused by deer." So that took care of the last deer remains. I think.

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