My office has a car and driver now. Or rather, Captain M and I have a driver (the same driver who got the boot two weeks ago). It's a perk. My predecessor—the man who confused company property with his own—had one too. I am wracked with guilt at the cost, but Captain M wanted a driver because he is sick of hearing about taxi drivers being obscene to me.
Our driver is probably tired of me already. One of the first things I did was insist that he put the car into PARK when he was outside smoking. Now this may seem like a fairly obvious thing to you or me, but he had just left the car in DRIVE and pulled up the hand break.
The second thing I did was say that if he refused to drive with headlights at night, I was not going to get in his car anymore. This may seem like an obvious thing too, but for whatever reason, lots of people here drive without headlights after dark. "To save power," commented one of the staff, which sent me into a rant about alternators and power generation.
The driver might wish he hadn't taken the job after tonight. First, I made him drive Captain M and I to hunt for the Captain's new flat, then he had to take Spanky home, then come back to take Captain M to Mohandiseen. Then I made him drive me and two friends half an hour away to Maadi in search of the best burger in Cairo and four smoke detectors. And I didn't even buy him a burger.
"What time should I pick up Madam?" He had called Captain M earlier to get details on when to meet me at Hotel Flamenco.
"Don't call Marie Madam. She is not Madam," I heard him say, exasperated. Then, with a glint and a sideways glance at me, he raised his voice and declared in English: "She is not Madam, she is Madwoman."