Wednesday, August 29, 2007

That's Ms. Marie to You

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."


Steve Buccellato said...

HA! Good post!

BTW, wouldn't turning the car off when it's parked ALSO "save power?" I'm just saying...

Marie Javins said...

Hey, there's an idea.

Last night, he flipped it into reverse while we were slowing. GRINDDDD!

vagabondblogger said...

I'd rather pay for the gas, and get into an air conditioned car, rather than having it turned off, at least in the summer.

I walk a lot around Maadi, sometimes in the evening to go to dinner, and have nearly been run over by these idiots without lights. I'd like to take a hammer to the front end, and make it official. The practice should be outlawed.

Marie Javins said...

I can't help but wonder if it is ALREADY outlawed. It seems like such a simple thing: Night=Headlights.

Marc Siry said...

So did your rant include the fact that a car generates a fixed amount of wattage when running, and if that wattage is not used to run the headlights it is shunted into a regulator / rectifier where it is converted to waste heat and radiated into the atmosphere?

So, when driving without headlights at night, he is simultaneously increasing the odds of dying in a car accident while heating up Cairo, neither of which are desirable.


Anonymous said...

That guy is pretty witty--I don't think I could crack wise lack that in Arabic.

As for the headlights, I'd be happy with just parking lights--this is common in Mexico too, at least while you're in town--sort of a politeness thing, so you don't blind pedestrians, which is quite nice. But people in Cairo drive an awful lot faster than is wise with no headlights.

So, how were the burgers?! I assume you mean Lucille's. Were they all that?

(And belated congratulations for weathering this whole ridiculous storm.)

Marie Javins said...

I was impressed with Captain M's play on words too. Clever boy.

I wish they'd at least use parking lights. I'd rather be blinded than squashed!

Getting to Lucille's on the blog... maybe today...