aloha!

The last day in Hawaii, checkout time at the hotel was noon. Our flight wasn’t until ten at night, so we reserved a car and driver; that way, we could tour the island, then slowly work our way to the airport.

The man who answered the phone at the limo company asked what we wanted to see on our tour. When I said I’d leave it largely to the discretion of the driver, I knew he would send his best man.

Michael was an experienced driver with a side business in aromatherapy. He started us off with one kind of scent, before slyly announcing he’d switched to a pine blend halfway through. He has fourteen children and seemed particularly proud of one who was turning out well. He was obsessed with real estate, describing many parts of Hawaii as the “Beverly Hills of…” (it’s the Beverly Hills of Waikiki, it’s the Beverly Hills of Kailua).

He drove us to various lookout points, where he would get out of the car and, in his suit, personally escort us to the romantic bluff. We’d stand there a while, until he decided we were sufficiently awed, at which point we’d head together back to the car. I whispered to Bernie to get a shot of me and Michael looking out at the scene together. The next stop, as he was extending his arm to highlight the view for us, I subtly put my arm around him. But Bernie hadn’t brought her camera. After that, she brought the camera, but he mysteriously lingered behind (this is when he changed the scent to pine, I strongly suspect).

Michael name dropped with abandon, and I can only hope to one day be added to his arsenal. He has driven (or “taken care of” in his parlance) Adam Sandler, Cameron Diaz, John Travolta, Los Angeles Lakers, and a real-life Hawaiian princess. He confided proudly that he takes care of the cast of Lost. “Then you need to take a little more care of them, they keep getting arrested for drunk driving, they shouldn’t be driving,” Bernie said immediately, the first time she’d spoken in quite a while.

Michael went into a little bit of a shell after that. And we drove in blissful silence, watching the ocean, smelling the pine.

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