In my entire time in Singapore, I have never felt so lost and helpless as what happened yesterday.
6.30pm: It all started with us having to leave the office at about 6.30pm yesterday. The boss was going to City Hall and offered me a lift. I had a dinner appointment with the Partner at Tanjong Pagar. At first I agreed, which meant I would have to meet the Partner at City Hall MRT, before taking the train to Tanjong Pagar. In the end, I declined the boss because the journey would involve a detour and I would rather take a straight bus down to Tanjong Pagar instead from our new office. This proved to be the biggest mistake of the day.
6.35pm: When I got down to the ground level. I was shocked to see the massive jam along Pasir Panjang Road. The traffic was literally stand still. My hopes of taking the public bus flew out the window. Couldn’t see a bus for miles and I didn’t want to have to squish like a sardine in one either. Decided to take the shuttle bus to Harbour Front MRT station instead. Somehow the shuttle arrived quickly even though it seemed the traffic outside the office hadn’t moved an inch. Alas, the shuttle was full after having picked up a load of passengers from the building before us. If this one is full, the next one would likely be full as well given the frequency of the shuttle!
6.45pm: Once again, I changed my mind and dragged myself towards the bus stop. A hoard of people were there, all looking anxiously at the stand still traffic. The one and only bus that would take me to Tanjong Pagar came and left without stopping. It was now 6.50pm. Worse still, a shuttle went past to, and I could see there were a few empty seats at the back. A colleague who was with me when I was at the shuttle stand told me a 2nd shuttle arrived within minutes, empty. DAMN!
6.55pm: Told myself, just take the next bus that comes! It’ll take you somewhere! So I took the next bus, and it happened to be heading towards Bukit Merah. In my haste, I translated Bukit Merah into Red Hill, and immediately assumed this bus would take me to Red Hill MRT station. Of course it was not the case, and I immediately realised my mistake. To make matters worse, I was still stuck in the almighty jam since the bus was still due to travel down Pasir Panjang Road! So not only was I still stuck in the jam, I had boarded the wrong bus!
It was at this point where I truly felt stranded. Even if I had money, nobody would be able to save me and make me get to where I wanted to go any faster. Even if I were to hire a taxi, it would also be stuck in the jam with me having to pay for it dearly.
7.03pm: Adversity gives rise to desperation which gives rise to wacky ideas. After 5 minutes on the bus, I told the bus driver I was getting off! It was fine because in all that time, he hadn’t even crossed the traffic junction, let alone reach the next bus stop. I felt a rush of hope after getting off the bus and leaving the oppressive jam.
7.10pm: I walked towards the Alexandra bus stop. There was a crowd there too, but lesser than the one at Pasir Panjang. More importantly, the roads were clear. Thankfully, the bus that would take me to Queenstown MRT arrived and I was one of the last passengers up. This bus didn’t stop at the next bus stop so I was lucky to be able to get on. I even managed to get a seat when a load of people got off at the Queensway Shopping Centre.
7.19pm: Finally, I arrived at Queenstown MRT station. Next train to town, 5 minutes. For a peak hour period, 5 minutes was way too long. But hell, if it’d said 10 minutes, I would somehow have not been surprised. Still, I had to be glad that I was finally on firm ground, where I knew I would definitely get to Tanjong Pagar within 10 minutes once I boarded the train. Interestingly, my colleague only arrived at Harbour Front MRT 5 minutes earlier.
7.33pm: I arrived at Tanjong Pagar. A journey that would normally have taken 20 minutes by bus from my office saw me having to jump through hoops in order to reach my destination 1 hour later.
Moral of the story: Never say no to your boss!!!!!!!
Oh no…sounds horrendous…I could feel your desperation, but I must admit that I smiled at your moral at the end!
I have the worst sense of direction and would have easily got lost on a public bus if I didn’t know for sure where it was going.
What was your partner’s response to all of this?
I can totally comprehend your frustration, especially on those moment when you are late and every traffic decisions made seems to drag longer instead of speeding up. 😀
Hahaha… I remember a time when life was simpler… I shall be smart enough to avoid the “magic hour” next time…