I drive a peeling red 1998 Plymouth Breeze. I did buy it on purpose, it was not a hand-me-down car. It is the second Plymouth I have owned. Please don’t do this to yourself unless your only other option is a Saturn.
Over the last 8 years, my kind friend Ryjan and I have fixed almost every part of this squeaky doored, crooked belted, Chrysler embarrassment. It’s not an easy car to work on due to its strange design and poor quality. For example, the car battery is in the wheel well and you have to jack it up and remove a tire to get to it. It has power steering. That is its only feature. No power locks, windows, not even anti-lock brakes.
One day in 2018, I was driving in a neighboring city when my phone’s gps routed me through an area I had never been before. While going around a curve I saw another red Plymouth Breeze coming from the other direction. It quickly caught my attention, because I have rarely seen even a similar model/year of the Breeze since I have owned it. It wasn’t a very desirable car when I bought it in 2010. It probably wasn’t even a desirable car in 1998. I have put a lot of work into keeping this thing running, and by 2018 I had good reason to believe that I was the only person who still had a functioning version of this crappy car. In fact, I cannot recall a single instance when I saw the same car in the same color as my red Breeze. Once I realized what I was seeing I looked closer and could see the clear coat peeling off the red paint of the other car. Just like mine. I felt like I was somehow seeing myself. A rare glimpse of what I look like while going about my day to day in my stupid old car.
As we passed each other it was apparent that my identical car had caught the other driver’s attention as well. We both had our heads turned with slightly puzzled looks on our faces. We both had medium beards. One of us was bald.
After we passed I stuck my arm out the window to give him a wave of solidarity, like I used to give other motorcyclists back when I was cool. As I did, I looked at the rear view mirror and saw he was already waving to me too.
Normally I wouldn’t have the windows down because the air conditioning technically still works. But I had manually rolled them down because it was a really hot day – high 90s – and sometimes the car dies when it’s too hot and I run the A/C. Since we passed and were out of each other’s sight so quickly, I wondered if he had the same situation as I, and therefore already had his windows down with time to wave as well.
I also wondered if he had spent hours and hours fixing his Breeze. Since many mechanics won’t work on a car so old and rusted out. They always say, “if we try to fix this we’ll just end up breaking something else in the process.” And that’s true. Every time I fix the car I break something else and have to fix that too.
I wondered If he saw my bald head and thought he was getting a glimpse of his future. A future where he had lost his hair, but somehow still had that terrible car.