Black Bear Destroys My Car

It was the night before the election and all through the house,

not a creature was stirring, not even a...

Actually, the only part that's correct is that this did happen the night before the election. And a creature most definitely WAS stirring. A giant, brown-haired, black bear that is.

The girls were finally asleep and Eric and I were watching the Walking Dead. Our street has no street lights and the few neighbors we do have live far enough away from us so that we don't see their house lights or really even them for the most part. This is to tell you that when the sun goes down each evening, it's dark outside. Only the moon and stars illuminate anything, and we love it that way.

So we're watching the embodiment of Trump (Negan) torture everyone around him, when we hear someone honk their horn a few times out on the street. Neither of us even blinked. I chalk this up to city living. In cities, horns are often being honked. People wait outside in their cars for someone and honk to let them know they are there. Or they honk because they're mad. Or they tap their horn to say hello. A horn honking out on the street is not something that registers.

At first. 

At this point I think Negan had Daryl surrounded by his henchmen after Daryl's escape attempt (spoiler alert? sorry) and then the honking happened again. Short, short, long, short. And I finally perked up and did some mental calculations.

We have no neighbors around us. If someone was honking outside, they must be honking for us.

I hopped up and ran to the window looking out the street and to my horror saw that the emergency lights were flashing on my car. 

Now remember, it's pitch black outside, so the only thing I can see are my blinking emergency lights. I can't see the car itself or the street. But my stomach sank. Someone is trying to steal my car and apparently doing a piss poor job at that, was immediately what I figured.

Eric must have heard my intake of breath because he jumped up as I was sputtering, 'my emergency lights are on. They're in my car!' He slipped on his boots, flipped on the porch and driveway lights, and grabbed a torch. (That's British English for flashlight, come on people, you really think he'd grab an actual torch? lol)

From the top of the stairs he shined the flashlight (okay, I'll stop using torch) at the car and I peeked around the corner and saw my car bouncing. The windshield was fogged up and I had two simultaneous thoughts: either two people were going at it like crazy in my car or it was a bear. Considering how cold it was outside, I knew no two people would want to have sex in my car, nor would they thus be able to so vigorously move it to and fro. 

Eric confirmed my fears with a scowl on his face. "It's a fucking bear. Dammit. Call 911."

At this point adrenaline kicked in. A fucking bear? In my car? There is a bear mere feet from the entrance of my home. Where are the kids? Are they safe? OMG. OMG! 

Eric and I freaked for different reasons. I went into primal mode and was concerned for everyone's safety. Eric was just super pissed about the car. He already knew the car was going to be fucked just by the way it was rocking and bouncing. 

"Hello 911, what is your emergency?"

"There is a bear in my car."

"A bear.

A bear in your car?"

"YES. There is a" I was shocked the operator sounded so disbelieving. This was Mammoth. I had heard story after story of bears doing this. Where was this operator from, Kansas?!

But she got it together and began asking where I lived, etc. and I went back out to the front porch to watch the bear show.

Eventually the bear popped the driver's side window out (seriously, popped it out whole) and climbed out that way. As he emerged (I'm calling a male on this) we both banged loudly against the porch railing and yelled at him to hopefully get it moving. You never want bears to associate good things with humans. Bears staying away from humans (and vice versa) keeps everybody safe.

Unbelievably, Eric took a video of this. I was not in any frame of mind to think 'I should get this on tape,' but Eric wasn't in primal mode like me, he was in, get out of my property mode, FFS.

The cops arrived a few minutes after the bear sauntered off. During those minutes Eric and I argued vehemently about his going down to look at the damage. I cut that part from the end of the video because the last thing I want immortalized is Eric and I arguing. I wanted him to at least wait until the cops showed up. Safety in numbers and all that. Plus also, guns. He wanted to go down immediately. I kept trying to explain that the bear could still be extremely close and those suckers charge like lightening. At least grizzlies do, and I grew up in Alaska. He eventually went down while I seethed about it at the top of the stairs. "This is a stupid idea!" I really don't talk to Eric like that, but I'll let this one time slide. Once in 11 years I figure gives me a pass. 

I finally shouted, 'fine, I'm waiting inside. And I'm closing this door!' He was unswayed. When I heard the cop cars pull up I donned a jacket and cautiously inched down the stairs toward my car. They were non-plussed. This was literally old hat to them.

"Did you have any food in the car?" No. 

"Any trash?" No. 

My car was clean. I had forgot to lock it. Now you can tut-tut about this, but locals around here are split pretty much 50/50 about the efficacy of locking your doors to prevent bears from getting in. If a bear wants to get in your car, they will get in. Some residents even leave a window open so the bear can get in and get out, quick like, no damage done. Eric didn't have his car locked either, so again, take your possible judgement on that and shove it. After asking a few questions and shining their lights around and saying, 'yeah, this sucks,' they started asking Eric about his Land Cruiser because apparently they were fans.

I took pictures of the damage.

Unreal, right?

After the cops left and I poured a glass of wine as big as my face, Eric called our insurance to make a claim. Thankfully, we had comprehensive coverage on the Subaru, which meant that they'd cover the damage after our $500 deductible.

I eventually was able to go to sleep that night and when I woke up and came upstairs the girls were bubbling with excitement. "MOM A BEAR WAS IN YOUR CAR AND IT BROKE IT AND IT IS A BIG MESS AND IT WAS A REAL BEAR. A BEAR, A REAL ONE IN YOUR CAR. OH MY GOSH!!!!!"

Sure enough, it was not a bad dream, though I realize now that the bear's destruction was presaging the election results that coming evening.

Lyra was in awe of the bear claw marks in her car seat.

This is me, not amused. Boooooo. Hissssss!

Seven business days after filing the claim, we finally heard from insurance that they're calling the car a total loss. And we had JUST put some kick ass snow tires on her too. 

: shakes her fist at that bear :

Last night we were driving to a Thanksgiving party and Eric swerved over to the side of the road, "did you see that? I think it's a bear."

In broad daylight. In the middle of a residential neighborhood. Just kicking it in the golf course, between all the houses.

We watched as something out of our line of sight spooked it and it ran, extremely fast, towards our car (not at us) but over to some giant drainage pipes. "Apparently they hang out in those," Eric informed me.

The moral of the story is two-fold:

1. Maybe you should lock your car in bear country. Or maybe it wouldn't matter anyways.

2. NEVER go exploring drainage pipes in the Eastern Sierras. If they are big enough for you to go exploring, or even crawl in, they are big enough for a black bear to feel cozy in too.