Picking up where we left off with the Lumina, since I was going back to school at the time, I needed a new car. Enter: The Dodge Stratus.
Yes – I was that person. And man, I loved that car. However, Minneapolis was rough on her.
My Stratus had a multitude of issues: overheating, stalling, she got broken into and had her stereo stolen. She got beat up, scratched, side-swiped and kept on coming. I thought Stratus and I were gonna be in it for the long haul.
Until Thanksgiving of 2006.
I was driving home to Iowa late at night on the newly opened stretch of freeway outside of Alton. It was around 9 pm, I’d just had a super long & horrible day at my crappy post-college job in Chaska, and I just wanted to get home and go to bed. I had just turned on my high beams after passing the only car I’d seen for miles when up out of the ditch on my left came a huge buck, and he was coming right at me.
The cliche that everything seems to happen in slow motion is actually quite true. I distinctly remember slamming on the brakes just as we made eye contact. I recall quite vividly when it spit up all over my windshield after impact as the car came screeching to a halt in the opposite ditch. Thankfully, the ditch was just a large, gravelly shoulder, and when the car came to a stop I felt like I was going to throw up from all the adrenaline coursing through my system.
By some miracle, the motorist I’d passed earlier saw the accident, and they actually stopped to pick me up and take me into town. Of all the places to conduct my impromptu deer slaughter, I was actually about a mile away from the nearest exit for Alton. The gas station the kind woman dropped me off at provided even more good fortune, for there inside enjoying hot mugs of coffee was a local police officer and a highway patrolman.
You can’t make this stuff up, folks.
My parents picked me up, and the Stratus was towed to a body shop where she was pronounced DOA.
Even though we never found the buck – to this day I maintain that it was a cyborg and ran off into the woods to rejoin with Skynet – the damage had already been done. Which meant that I got to pick out a new vehicle, and my choices weren’t that great.
That’s right, I’m going to leave a cliffhanger. The worlds lamest cliffhanger.