Congratulations, it's a Corolla!

The business manager at the dealership can't stop screaming "Congratulations!" and shaking my hand. He must have said it three times during our seven minute meeting yesterday and today as we walk into the showroom, he attacks us again.

"Congratulations! This is fantastic!"

"Thanks! Oh thank you so much!" I try to match his level of enthusiasm, though mine is tinged with "ohhh I'm so much pooooorer" and his rings out with the sound of "cha-CHING!"

Now we are on opposite sides of his desk and he's whisking away paper after paper after I scrawl my signature across the pink Xs he's drawn in. Moments away from being allowed to take it home, the employees are preparing for the car's departure. They are making it look its best, giving it a big send-off.

Yesterday I'd asked about the car's old family; all I was told was that it had been brought in less than two weeks ago and that it had been well-taken care of. I start feeling like Brangelina, swooping in to save a perfectly good car and give it a good home.

The dealer hands me the keys and goes through the many details of how things work. "You see, here are the wipers. Pull it down for faster intervals- No, no, not that far down- yes, that's it." As if I've never driven a car before. As if I'm a new mother unsure how to change a diaper. But I appreciate his fatherly attention to detail (and know that if he hadn't shown me, I'd have been caught in a hurricane on the way home and been frantically clawing around near the blinkers for wiping relief).

The only thing foreign to me is the CD player; it has been installed separately. What kind of person buys these stereo things? I don't have much to go on, but I'm dying to know about this car's past life. Not because I want to make judgements about how often they got oil changes, but because I want to know who was literally sitting in my seat for the past eight years.

Then I spot the pre-programmed radio buttons. Jackpot.

Number one is NPR. Previous owner was educated, I assume.

Number two is contemporary music but a slightly offbeat channel for the area. Number three is the traffic station. Hip, but responsible, I think. Maybe slightly boring.

Number four is a station ENTIRELY IN SPANISH???

The only thing better than giving a new home to an old car is giving a home to one with linguistic capabilities. A Hispanic Toyota. Now THAT'S international.

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