Lottery Winner
A carwash wonk am I. Not only do I like driving a clean car, but there's always a story at the Elephant Car Wash.

Monday, on the one clear sunny day we had in months, dirty cars were lined up at the carwash like it was a border crossing. Doors and trunks were flung open, revealing the cargo truth of how much junk and trash most people carry in their car, regardless of make, model, or driver. While I waited in the delivery zone I tried to predict which car belonged to which driver.

So I'm standing out in the sunshine. Waiting. Watching. The wipe-down crew is mostly very black young men from Ghana, who sing-song to each other in their native language as they work. Standing beside me is a dapper young brown man reading a paperback book: "The Next Millionaire." No doubt the flashy new silver BMW sedan belongs to him.

"That would be you?" I asked, pointing at his book.
"That would be me," he replied.

"That would be you?" I asked, pointing at the BMW.
"No, that would be me," he said, pointing at the next car out of the washer.

An old Yellow Taxi in mint condition. "ThatÂ’s my cab," said the dapper young man. "If I keep it sharp, I get more rides and better tips." He is, I learned, from Somalia. His first job in the States was in this very car wash. And now, three years later, he owns three Yellow Cabs. He brings them to the Elephant Car Wash to remind himself he is moving on up.

I pointed to his book, "The Next Millionaire," and asked if he expected to win the lottery.

He smiled, "Mister, if you are in America, you have won the lottery."
Posted by: Nimble Spemble 2006-03-17