Fanfare for the Common Man: Forming a Sebring Club

  • Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Before I owned one I never saw one.
I see them everywhere now.
I drive a Sebring and I see them all over town. It’s my midlife Chrysler.
Not just any Sebring mind you, but specifically Sebring convertibles. There has to be at least a dozen around town, and more than one white Sebring with the tan ragtop. I pass them all the time.
Sometimes as we pass each other I’ll exchange a knowing nod with the driver behind the wheel of the approaching Sebring. It’s an acknowledgement of sorts that yes, we both notice that we’re driving the same car, and in the cases when I pass one that looks exactly like mine, I’m thinking: What if I just got a sneak peek into a parallel universe and I’m seeing my Other Self coming at me from the other way?
I subconsciously take an extra-long look through the windshield just in case it might be my Evil Me behind the wheel.
It got me to thinking, though. Maybe we should form a Sebring Club. I don’t see why not.
Harley Davidson riders have their own little club of sorts. They even have their own personalized “Low Five” howdy sign as they pass each other on the road.
It is a very casual, almost indifferent acknowledgement of two passing Alpha males. There are no smiles, just a subtle lowering of the left hand. This low five is the Harley riders’ exclusive hi sign.
A Sebring Club sounds like a good idea. We could have our own private greeting. Maybe roll down the window and waggle the fingers or wear official Sebring outfits like argyle sweater vests and mock turtlenecks.
Miata drivers have their own club and I’d driven my dad’s Mazda Miata a couple times over the years to experience seeing other club members.
Being a big man, me driving a Miata would be like trying to squeeze into a really tight pair of pants. You’re going to need the Jaws of Life to get me out of these things.
I was on my way to the grocery store, driving with the top down, and I noticed a similar Miata had pulled in behind me; a convertible as well, with a slightly older woman behind the wheel.
She was smiling.
There’s nothing more awkward than what I call “rearview mirror eye contact,” and we exchanged it. In fact, I think she was checking out the back of my Mister-Potato-Head-sized head poking above the windshield.
She followed me into the parking lot, but I lost her as I pulled down the far left lane.
I was heading into the grocery store with my finger buried up to the second knuckle, digging at something in my ear when she passed me and smiled again, giving that knowing nod right about the time I made like the Little Drummer Boy on my eardrum.
I didn’t know what to do, standing there in the parking lot with my finger in my ear.
I saw her again, this time in the frozen foods section of the supermarket, coming from the opposite direction.
She smiled and nodded again, and said, “Very nice,” as if complimenting a fine wine.
I stopped, “Excuse me?”
“Your Miata,” she said, “Very nice.”
Words at this point, failed me.
She stood barely five feet tall, gray hair moussed in a spike, Tom Cruise aviator shades. She barely came up to my armpit.  
Think Betty White in leather.
 “Mine’s a 94,” she added and put a hand on my buggy. “What’s yours?”
 “My Dad’s,” I replied and continued off down the aisle.
I’m sure she was impressed.
So, what do you Sebring owners say? Let’s start a Sebring Club.

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