I regret not accepting the offer from friends to stay the night after a social evening instead choosing to drive home. A trip we had made a hundred times before.
As always, non drinking hubby was driving, leaving me to become drowsy from the earlier consumed wine. Being a “back seat driver”, this works well for our marriage. Sleeping makes me oblivious to his driving so we arrive home still being civil to each other.
I had just tilted back the seat and closed my eyes when I heard him curse loudly. It wasn’t the volume of his words that alarmed me but rather the attached panicked inflection which implied a pending catastrophe. With my sudden surge forward from the brakes being heavily applied it took only a split second for me to open my eyes to witness whatever ominous doom was about to unfold.
In this short time my mind had strangely played out the expected scenario. With his sudden outburst implying an inevitable hopelessness to this looming situation, I anticipated tail lights of a huge truck with which no doubt we were about to collide. Eyes now fully open, my expectation was wrong. There was no truck, there was no obstruction, there was no inevitable doom. The road was clear. I quickly realized the doom wasn’t pending, it had happened.
He had hit a Kangaroo. What? My life flashed before my eyes because of a kangaroo? I was almost fully alert by now and quickly asked if we should go back and check on the Kangaroo to which he replied “there’s nothing we can do for the kangaroo, I’m more worried about the damage to the car.” For a second I felt bad for the kangaroo until the words “damage to the car” really had me wide awake. Not the car. Not the cost a lot of money NEW car. There was a single street light up ahead so I asked him to pull over to check the damage. Really though, this was a stupid request. What good would it do us to know how much damage there was? We could do nothing about it now anyway and knowing would inevitably cause an even more depressed drive home. But I HAD to know.
He had barely pulled over before I unbuckled my seat belt in readiness. Weirdly, as I did this, my mind was happily acknowledging that at least I now know that the seat belts work in the new car, having locked in with the brakes. I bolted out of the door and rushed to the front of the car hoping only to see perhaps a little ding or a bit of washable blood splatter. What I saw was not even a remote thought in my head. I screamed in horror. Hubby, still yet to exit the car, envisaged from this scream a totally smashed in front end. Then he also was in shock.
Protruding from the grill was a big brown furry Kangaroo bum and his long thick tail. The top two thirds of its body was not visible because it was jammed inside the motor. It looked like one of those fake animals that you attach to your boot.
A couple of deep pitted growls later (from me, not the Roo) I began assessing our situation. We were in the middle of nowhere with a dead Kangaroo lodged tightly in our car with no means to release it. Again with the stupid thoughts, I actually toyed with the possibility of continuing home this way. After all, we had just travelled at least a kilometre in this manner.
With Hubby smirking at my “blonde” moment I soon realized that I hadn’t bothered to factor in the impact damage to the engine which soon became evident at the sight of water flooding from underneath. My next thought was of who could help us? Call NRMA. Surely amongst their array of tools they would also carry Kangaroo Removal Equipment wouldn’t they? Ok, so another stupid thought but hay, at this time I was a bit short on ideas.
As I called the NRMA, who proceeded to supply me with a variety of unwanted numbers before finally being given their NEW roadside assistance number, hubby informs me that the Roo was in fact alive and was backing itself out from the car. “Holly Molly”. How could this be possible? This will be one angry Kangaroo and I wasn’t about to get in its way so I jumped inside the car while still trying to get through to the NRMA. I was forced yet again to listen to their endless spiel on their wonderful and varied services and their suggestion of going to their website. Who cares! I just want roadside assistance. I mean, why else would I call a “roadside assistance” number?
By the time Hubby realized the Roo was not “backing out” but rather its now limp body was sliding out, a car pulled up and a young guy offered a hand. He was an off duty policeman (never far from an accident) who grabbed an old towel from his car and managed to pull the Roo out and drag it to the side of the road. As grateful as we were for his help I would have preferred he stayed longer. At this point, any company was enviable to that of being alone on this dark lonely road with the eyes of a dead Kangaroo glaring at my every move.
Frustrated that NRMA only attend to breakdowns and towing our car would cost a fortune, another 20 mins was spent on the phone to the insurance company. A tow was finally arranged, son was called to collect us, and as I sat there waiting on this freezing night I thought back to the original offer we turned down of a comfy bed, a hot breakfast, lovely company then a pleasant DAY trip home. Grrrr. The choices we make.
“Humans have a knack for choosing precisely the things that are worst for them.” ― JK Rowling