Wombat, I feel like some Starbucks before we get going.

Yes sir. The usual?

Sure. And a blueberry muffin. And an O.J. And get something for yourself.

Got it. Thanks. I’ll have a coffee too.

So began last Friday, at the start of a three-hour trip from my side of Florida to Palm Beach with The Boss’s best customer.

He’s a brusque man. When working, he’s a model of concentration, and there’s no time he’s not working. Day or night, if not on the phone, he’s tapping away at the computer in the back of the town car.

Friday was a little different. I’m normally taking him to, or collecting him from, an airport, exhausted, or hyped, or both. But it was daylight, for a start, and he didn’t have a killer deadline to meet, so he was more relaxed – noticeably calmer, in fact, which augured well.

Usually I opt out of customers’ offers of joining them in food or drink. For me, it alters the relationship, moving away from the clear-cut driver/driven game to….well, that’s the thing. I’m not sure where it takes it. We’re not friends, because they know nothing about me. We’re not colleagues, because we don’t work together. There’s no way to know where I stand, which underlines the fact that role-play defines all of our interactions.

If only slightly, the nature of our relationship changed that day, not just because we shared a coffee. We joked about this and that. He laughed about his small bladder. We remarked on what good time we made by taking the back way. It was like the rhythm of the road and the open space allowed us both to take a break from our roles.

And how pleasant it was.

I love road trips.