I chose a Kia because the warranty is awesome and the Soul is styling. The Kia Soul has lots of interior cabin space (even if not much trunk space — but past lives have taught me that I will fill the trunk with stuff I shouldn’t fill it with, if the trunk is too large). It’s not the all-wheel drive all my Subaru friends love in Duluth, but it’s zippy and it’s vaguely cool looking, after all.
My salesman was Bill, and he was excellent. I made clear that I wanted a Kia Soul 2016 with a rear camera. He could have upsold me a “Soul Plus,” because online, that was the model for which the camera was standard. But, he said, they had some 2016 base models with the camera added because they knew the camera was a selling point. Those base models were in two colors (black and white, twice as many options as the Ford Model T offered, I told myself), and they were positioned in a row of vehicles behind the more recent, better equipped models. They were under a bridge-like structure. Many of them had bird droppings and dust from the bridge on them; one of them would not turn over because the battery was dead or disconnected. It was not the ideal set of circumstances for a car salesman to work in. But Bill was charming in his commitment to give me what I wanted at the best price he could, and his effort, made the … unusual circumstances of the stock seem quaint, rather than a reason to go to a place with a little more polish. (Thank you, Bill.)
The purchase took waaaaaay too long, as car buying always does. Bill kept popping back to show us wonderful things about the car or the warranty while we waited (again, great job, because waiting a half an hour to start the financing process is not ideal for anyone). When it started, Briana was quick and happy to help, repeatedly thanking me for making it easy by having a good credit score.
At the end of the night, Bill took my picture with him, shaking hands in front of my Kia. The event was as easy as such a bittersweet moment could be.
Bittersweet because I have finally forced myself to admit that I live in a place where I need a car. In Milwaukee and Minneapolis, I did not even learn to drive until I was 30. Living without a car was an acceptable lifestyle choice in an urban center. Here, not owning a car is a debilitating weakness
— because the bus system is not as thorough as it could be in connecting the city (it takes more than an hour to get from my home to the airport) and
— because people presume there is something wrong with me for not having a car. (Is he broke? How badly does he manage his finances? What else is wrong with him?)
So, I cannot make the choices, be the man I was when I was younger. I need to own a car.
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