Because our oldest daughter absolutely refuses to join the Merchant Marines after high school, she made me drive through New England this summer looking at prospective colleges. It wasn't a bad trip, as it turned out, because I was able to spend a lot of one-on-one quality time with her in the car, whenever she removed her earphones (twice). In fairness, she would occasionally set aside her CDs to listen to the radio, which was great for me since she enjoys a wide range of music, as long as it's the Red Hot Chili Peppers. (Maybe it's best we never listened to my generation's music, since it would have led to tough questions like "Dad, what is a 'Shondell,' and why does Tommy James have more than one?")
Our trip up the East Coast was good after we got through New York (motto: "Expect Delays"), and we did well sharing the food we had brought along, especially after we developed a procedure of first counting out all the pretzels and then dividing them by two. Of course, driving with 79 pretzels on your lap took some getting used to, but I managed (the secret is keeping your legs perfectly stilland never, ever move your foot to the brake).
After only two food-related incidents (Toll booth guy: "Sir, do you have any other bills? This one has yogurt on it...no, licking it off won't help!...sir!...I'M NOT TOUCHING THAT!") we entered the Land of Expensive Colleges. These were schools that matched a comprehensive set of criteria that my daughter had devised: They must be at least three hours from home, and they must cost at least $32,000 a year.
Her parents' criteria were only slightly different: