It's not so much "deer in the headlights" as "rabbit in the headlights"...
One late night, about 25 years ago, I was driving home from work.
With my previously mentioned boyfriend who was neither a boy nor a friend. (See Wine for my Horses, Chocolate for my Girls).
I was driving.
In my car.
Because my 40-something boyfriend did not have a car.
Because his credit was bad.
Because he had declared Bankruptcy.
Because he had opened (and closed) a failed nightclub in Florida.
That is the story he told me. Now I wonder how much of it was true.
And by the way, in one of my many, many head-shakingly embarrassing "Hellooooo McFlyyyy" moments of my clueless 20's, why did it not occur to me that a 45 year old man who tends bar for a living, has no car nor home of his own was probably not what we would call "a keeper"??
We were driving home from work, down an unpaved road in one of the many housing developments of the Pocono Mountains of PA when a rabbit darted in front of my car. Now, for my Pennsylvania wildlife-challenged Readers Dear, let me explain something to you. A white-tailed deer will often stop and look at the headlights of the car that is about to hit it for a moment or two until it decides to run out of harm's way. Hence the phrase "deer in the headlights". A rabbit? Not so much. A rabbit will run, but not in a logical, straight line. It will zig-zag back and forth in front of the car. So, try as you might to not hit it, the rabbit will make it really difficult for you. And, true to form, this rabbit zigged as I zigged and zagged as I zagged. All the while bartender-boy sat in the shotgun seat half-joking, but not really, about my driving.
In recent days, for some reason, every time I close my eyes I see that rabbit I see the darkness of the night held back by the soft glow coming from my single-chick-Ford-Mustang headlights. I see that brown little bunny, frantically bounding back and forth from ditch to ditch, with his little powder puff tail in the air. I remember the dismay I felt, willing him to just pick a spot, sit still, and let me drive around him already so I could just go home and rest. And I can still feel my right hand as it itched to flip the bird to my smart-ass not-a-friend-boyfriend.
Some days you're the headlights, some days you're the rabbit. This day, this month, (It's January again. Awesome.) I am the rabbit. Frantically running around in a spastic zig-zag, trying to avoid the truckload of grief heading my way with it's annual delivery. I zig -- "hey let's plan a girl's night". I zag --"I'm entirely too much of a hot mess to be around anyone." I waffle between inertia and frenzy. Zig. Zag. Zig. Zag...the headlights are upon me ...
I know they are coming. I know it's going to be bad. I don't deny it anymore. I'm not even going to fight it. I know I should just pick a spot, sit still and let the headlights, and the attached truck, wash over me. But, oh, how I want to run. There is only me, the headlights and and my white, puffy tail, waving in surrender.