Sophie drove the rental car. I don’t think it’s allowed. I told the agent we have three drivers; he didn’t mention any restrictions. He never asked her age, so I never told. Still, I doubt they want a seventeen-year-old driving their car. She leaves at 5:30, Tuesdays and Thursdays. “Text us when you get there, let us know you’re all right.” This is a big-ass leap of faith. I hate driving those roads. Especially at night. She won’t get home until nine.
Next year, she’s on her own, fully self-sufficient. She’ll need good judgement, good skills. Better if she practices now, without a car full of friends, without alcohol, or weed. A long dark trip; winding, hilly roads. Tuesday night was fog.
Rental car? We bought a lemon. Do people still use this word? When I was a kid, that’s what we called a car that breaks down. The air conditioner stopped working. Then the back-up camera. Two oil leaks. The AC again. Now they’re replacing the engine. We went car shopping with a budget—used car shopping. This one at the top of our range, making my stomach queasy. It’s a nice car, solid, comfortable, but we have to make the payments. In the finance office, they pitched the extended warranty, jacking the price by two grand. That feeling in my stomach grew.
“It’s moderately high mileage. I’d feel better if you had some protection.” This is the finance manager. She sounds like somebody’s mom. Of course she’d feel better, she gets a commission. I did some math: years times probability divided by miles. We bought the warranty. We added a year to the payment plan to keep down the pain.
Free. It’s all free, or at least already paid for. The AC, the camera, the leaks, the engine, even the rental car. I should thank that woman for guilting me into a warranty. We’ve saved thousands of dollars… on our lemon.
Sophie has a plan. Collegiate rugby. The schools she applied to all have programs. She thinks she’ll make some friends. And stay in shape. And continue to improve. Rugby is the sport that stuck, the one she loves, but her team collapsed this year. Something about new league rules, coaching requirements and unnecessary hassles. Tom’s daughter graduated last year. I’d bail on coaching too.
The closest team is in Westminster, an hour away. She’s committed to playing this spring, sticking with her plan. So she’s making the drive, back roads, winding, hilly, foggy, maybe deer… in the rental car. We’re cutting the apron strings. I worry the whole time she’s gone.