Sometimes when I’m out and about, moving through the world, I like to look around at people and see if I can figure out their stories. Who they are, where they came from, what they do, where they’re going. It’s more about imagination than anything else, seeing if I can come up with a story that’s plausible.

Our gal in Japan Kat’s been doing the same thing lately in her town, seeking out perplexing vehicles in her town that appear to be abandoned or neglected. You see those in every place across the globe, but these cars’ uniqueness to Westerners makes them extra compelling.

And so reader ninjagin thinks he has this old Civic figured out.

I’ll bet it got left there because someone just can’t afford to drive it. One bill got to be too much, manga and pachinko nights got the rest of the budget, more bills came, and there she sits.

However ...

I’d like to envision it being owned by a retired salaryman whose wife died and his kids never visit anymore. His arthritis got bad so he doesn’t go fishing anymore, and he’s just paying for the parking spot, holding onto the dream of one day going out again, but knowing that his tired bones can’t take it and his wallet doesn’t have room to get the service caught up. He takes the train to the senior center every morning, and stops sometimes on his way to the station to remove the leaves, trash and dirt that accumulates regularly around the wheels. Rather than surrender, his pride leaves him to look at it out the window of his apartment in the late afternoons, knowing that he has a car, and allowing that fact to soothe his soul and remind him of the days when he had means, and someone to go with him on his trips into the countryside. It was real. All of it was real. The car is still there and he is still the man he was.

Sad, but beautiful. Or maybe some tuner kid’s just a deadbeat and is letting his project car slide. That’s a bit happier, maybe.

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Congrats on the COTD win, ninjagin! May you never walk this earth as alone as this Civic is.


Contact the author at patrick@jalopnik.com.