I know I’ve shared this story a few times, but screw it.

About 8 years ago, I had an upcoming first date with a nice young lady I had met at a Chili’s the week prior. At the time, my daily driver was a Subaru SVX, my weekend toy was a Honda S2000, and my bike was a Suzuki SV650. The SVX was a great everyday car, but it was starting to show its age. Fantastic for getting to work, not for wooing a young lass. A motorcycle seemed like a poor first date choice (and it was a bit janky.) So I elected to take the S2000.

We did the whole dinner and a movie thing in the city, and had a pleasant evening. It was around an hour back to the coast where we both lived, and it was a very nice fall evening. Rather than take the highway back, I suggested putting the top down and taking the freshly asphalted two-lane back road through the Florida swamps and forests. It would add about 10 minutes or so to the drive, but mid 20's me thought it would be exponentially more enjoyable.

It was a mostly uneventful ride back. I was doing about 65 mph, and we hadn’t seen another car for at least fifteen minutes. All of a sudden, I saw what looked like an uneven spot in the road ahead. Didn’t give it much of a second thought at the time. As I came up to it, I realized that instead of being a small dip in the road, it was a 6 or 7 foot alligator stretched across the entire lane, undoubtedly soaking up any remaining warmth from the blacktop.

At this point, I had two options. Slam the brakes and hope for the best, or swerve and put my car in the trees and water. I slammed the brakes, the result of which was not pretty. Rather than drive over the gator, I drove through it. The carbon front lip exploded, both the front and rear bumpers were torn free, blew a tire, cracked a shock absorber, and put a leak in the radiator. After being 100% sure my pants were not filled to the brim from a panic-induced bowel evacuation, I got out of the car to survey my options. I put the donut tire on to replace the flat one and cleared as much of my car’s reptilian-removed parts out of the roadway. The rest, there wasn’t much I could do. I was in the middle of nowhere without cell service, there were no street lights, and I had a sickening feeling that another alligator was nearby and witnessed the befouling of his kin.

It didn’t really dawn on me until later, after we got back on the road...I never even asked my date if she was okay following the collision. As if to double down on my own ignorance, when she questioned why I didn’t seem concerned about her. My reply was, “I have about $200 invested in this date, but $30,000 or so invested in this car. You looked fine, so I voted for my greater concern.”

There was no second date.