The door to the garage swings shut; Captain Andrew bounds in the door swinging car keys from his index finger.
“Did you pick up the new rental car?” I ask.
“Yep!” He says with more enthusiasm than a rental car warrants. I scowl. “What?”
He grabs my hand and drags me out to the driveway to see.
I smack my head and then cover my face. “Oh my hell….what is this!?”
Little known fact: you can’t buy car insurance if you do not own a car. This seems like it would not be problematic - why would you want to purchase car insurance if you do not own a car? - but if you are two sailors who enjoy an overabundance of insurance policies, you might rent a car and drive it around while you are pretending to be land-dwellers. And, I’m here to tell you, the insurance rates for rental car companies stink. First, you only get the statutory minimum of 15,000/30,000 per incident in Nevada, and it triples the cost of your rental car. Annoying.
So, we called our insurance agent the All Powerful Micah Landis, and though he delivered the bad news that we cannot purchase normal car insurance, he had an alternative up his sleeve. “Have you heard of Turo?” He asked.
Turo is apparently an app like Uber where “normal” people can offer their cars up for rental. The company boasts a million dollar liability insurance option for half the cost of the normal rental companies and the rental for the car was a bit cheaper, too. This seemed like a good option for the Oddgodfreys. Our first set of wheels was an almost new Chevy sport SUV, but the rental period for that car ran out and we had to trade it for a different car.
An old police cruiser with a Jurassic Park paint job sits in my driveway. “Oh my god,” I groan. “This was the only car you could find?!”
“No! This is the car I picked. It has a giant trunk, we can fit the bikes in it!” Andrew clicks open the trunk to show me.
Great. “Someone is going to report a suspicious vehicle in the neighborhood,” I say and return inside to tape up the box I was working on.
A few moments later, Naomi from the Yacht Club stops by to say hello. “Is that your car in the driveway?!” She laughs.
“A rental,” I explain. She and I head out to the drive way and chit chat for a few moments while we mull over the car. I decide that, like rats in restaurants, this car will be more charming if I give it a name. “What do you think, Naomi?” We try a few names on for size until I realize the obvious. “His name is Rex. It must be.”
And, so it was.
After we shuffled Naomi out the door, we had lunch plans with more friends. So, Andrew shuttles me to the car and offers to let me drive. I reach forward and pull the old-school-80s transmission handle on the side of the steering wheel toward me. “What year did you say this car is?” I ask Andrew.
“They haven’t changed the transmission design since ‘Super Troopers’.”
As we exit the parking lot for the Wine and Cheese Shop, I realized Rex has some serious PEP and he can make a U-Turn inside one lane.
Rex is awesome.
Later that night, while wearing my typical “Most-Boring-Lady” ensemble of a cardigan over a solid colored camisole and jeans, we roll up to the In N’ Out Burger to order dinner. A gal of about the age of 17 stands at the back of the line taking orders, manually.
“What can I get you?” She asks looking down at her clipboard. Then, she looks up at me, down at Rex, and stifles a giggle of surprise. I order, she writes it down, and acts normal until she can’t take it anymore. “THAT is an awesome car.” She says.
“I know,” I laugh, “His name is Rex!” Then, I pull forward. The lad at the window says nothing about Rex, he just looks between me and Rex with a confused eye as he hands over the burgers.
“Who would you expect to be driving this car?” I ask Andrew as we pull away, our rear-wheel drive cop tires squealing as we zoom onto the freeway onramp.
“Definitely not you,” he says, thinking, “someone wearing more old tweed and puffing a cigar.”
The next day I drive Rex to Nordstrom to meet a friend for lunch, and the day after, I park him at the offices of my old law firm. One of the Fearless Leaders got wind of our Yacht Club Talk, and asked us to do a repeat at the office. In the hallway just outside my old office, the Rex-Driving-Sailor-Ghost I am today met and shook hands with the Fancy-Pants-Lawyer-Leslie-Ghost of yesterday. I am not at all who either of us expected me to be.
Finally, Rex and I decide we must cross the “Great Divide” of the Las Vegas Strip and head over to Summerlin to visit my Grand Piano, Ella, who is making herself at home at one of my friends houses for the duration of my sailing life.
I warn my friend, “Your gated community may not let me in.” I send her a screenshot of me with Rex.
But, she didn’t believe me. I think she thought I was posing next to someone else’s car. When the gate really didn’t let me in (because she gave me the wrong gate code), she had to retrieve me. As she led me in, Rex and I caravan behind her beautiful BMW. She pulls into her garage and I go to park on the side of the street without the fire hydrant. Her neighbor steps outside, hands on hips.
“I don’t know who this is!” She laughs, joking with her neighbor but longing for that to be the case, I’m sure. Then, she turns to me. “You can’t park that there!”
“I’m parking Rex in your driveway, then. Move!”
“Oh my god!” She’s laughing so hard, she can’t say no. I pull in.
This is what my life has come to. Am I losing myself? Have I always been this person - the one you are just a little embarrassed to have park her car in your neighborhood? Probably, actually, as I think of my old Honda Civic, Bandit.
My friends are all wonderful people, so they are tolerating this turn of events with a huge dose of humor. But to be fair…who drives a Jurassic Park Police Cruiser?
The next day, Rex, Andrew and I return to the same friends’ house for drinks and dinner with a group of old friends, Rex being the butt of several jokes. Poor Rex. Everyone wants a picture, because this is funny to the extent Rex is temporary. What does it say about me that I kind of want to buy an old police cruiser at auction when we come home? And what does it say about Andrew that he’d be super excited to give it a Jurassic Park paint job?