My most recent posts have been about a red Mercedes and spending time in Rhinelander, WI. For today’s installment, here’s a little story about what happens when those two things overlap.

Before going further with this I’m going to include a picture of the symbol located on the front of my car. It’s about 6″ in diameter and shines in bright silver chrome. It may be familiar to a few of you:

Mercedes-Benz SymbolThe story opens in the Walmart parking lot a little after 11PM on a Tuesday night. I had come looking for contact solution. I parked the car in an empty row, and as I was locking the door a guy in his early-20’s came sprinting across the lot my direction. He stopped about ten feet away and stared at me.

What type of car is that? he yelled, his voice absurdly loud.

Dear readers, you see now why the picture.

It’s a Mercedes, I answered.

Oh, he nodded and thought a moment. How many doors does it have?

Please remember that was standing no more than ten feet away and I was parked under a giant light.

Two, I answered.

Oh, two. That’s cool. He turned and pointed vaguely across the parking lot. My car’s got two doors.

My eyes tried to follow his hand, but as it was shook and roved wild as an unmoored sprinkler arm, it was to no avail.

Great, I said.

It’s a Neon, he added. A two door Neon.

Cool, I added, and I meant it sincerely. The Neon is a fine car, and many years ago I drove one.

I went into the store. I bought contact solution.

I came out and there he was, leaned against his Neon. The car was dented and dinged and huge swirls of rust streaked its sides. In the sulfurous glow of the overhead lamps the Neon appeared to have originally been painted a puke green, only to have subsequently been rattle-canned a bleary combination of black and electric blue.

He waved happily my direction and yelled something that sounded like, This is my Neon.

I counted the doors. There were two.

I waved back.