I have a driver now. He comes with the estate I’m staying at in The Plaza neighborhood of Charlotte. I’m the only guest so I have the pleasure of his company.
Every morning he arrives at the estate promptly at 11:30 am while I’m just finishing my morning cigar, espresso, and writing. The driver is a polished, understated 39 year old gentleman that drives an elegantly wowless Suburban. It’s not emblazoned with car-for-hire decals.
He enters the estate at street level, his car’s heavy tires kicking up the loose pebbles of the drive. From my chair in front of the carriage house I can hear the subtle cracking and pounding of stones. Through the towering trees and amidst the thickets standing guard, I can see his headlights; he drives past the front door, deftly navigates the portico, and pulls the Suburban up to the house.
“Ahmed,” I say happily.
“Good morning, Mr. Harlan,” Ahmed replies.
“Join me?” I ask while enjoying my cigar.
“You’ll be late for lunch,” he cautions.
I simply shrug.
“Why not,” he adds and takes his place beside me.
I pull his favorite cigar from my pocket, hand him the cutter and matches.
“Mr. Harlan, this is a fantastic smoke.”
“It is, Ahmed. But it’s better when you share it with a friend,” I added.
“Thank you, sir,” he nodded while puffing out plumes of gray smoke and smiling.