Phobia

I switched from my spring/summer citrusy perfume to my fall/winter cedary one. One morning, it just seems time to switch the seasonal scents. I don’t know what prompts it, but I always know when it’s time. The same day, I paused at my car door to enjoy the beauty of the crescent moon and the blazing stars in the black sky as I headed off to work in the early morning darkness.

As I drove down Deer Alley, I realized that, much like I did when I lived in San Francisco, I leave for work at the mysterious hour when night meets day, and the nocturnal creatures are heading home and the daylight ones are heading out. Now, instead of sex workers and their clients*, the night guy at the mortuary sneaking a cigarette, weary cops grabbing a cup of coffee at an all-night coffee shop, and partiers staggering home as the night met the dawn, there are deer, skunks trundling along comically, possums blinking in the headlights, owls swooping overhead, foxes slinking by, raccoons, and rabbits. It would make a fun movie split screen.

I have become somewhat deer phobic since I hit one recently. Although the deer ran away and there was no visible car damage, it shook me up, and now I’m convinced that a more serious deer accident is inevitable. When my siblings lived on boats at Pier 39, my brother used to say of falling in the water, “There’s them that has and them that will,” and I fear this is also true of hitting a deer. I drive about 250 miles a week just to get to work and back, and much or most of it is on roads bordered by deer-infested woods, so I feel that the odds are not with me on this one.

I’m already tired of driving in the dark and being blinded by the oncoming traffic, and there are months of it ahead of me. I am already pre-resenting the spring time change, when I get plunged back into weeks more of darkness just when it starts being light in the morning. I actually welcome having a car in front of me on these early morning drives, reasoning that they will meet the deer before I do.

Deer are beautiful and graceful, and I am charmed to see them bouncing down the driveway like they are on springs, or hopping up gracefully to nibble apples, or when they come up on the front porch and peer through the front door, which is mostly glass. But they are also a daily concern when I drive to work. I have been driving more slowly these days, and it certainly makes the trek to the Big Town seem a lot longer. But hopefully, it’s a little safer, too.

*I was surprised by how many besuited guys on their way to the Financial District would pick up girls on their way to work, much like they would pick up coffee. I wonder if this still happens. I still think it’s a little odd, but even after all these years and all these relationships, the ways of men are mysterious to me.

FIVE YEARS AGO: Adventures in real estate.

TEN YEARS AGO: The ordeal of swimming lessons.

FIFTEEN YEARS AGO: A delightful visit with Dad, circa 1991. Those were the days!

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