Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Better Late Than...

The adrenaline junkie that I am had made me late for work this morning.

I did my daily morning workout ritual today a little too long than I had hoped because my "adrenaline tank" was not full enough for me to stop and got into the shower, ready for work.

I knew I had a chance to get the last bus before I was truly "later" than late. But I have this method to save me from that, so it was not like the end of the world for me in any morning if I were to miss the bus.

This morning, I got to see my last bus leaving the bus stop before I actually got to be there to board. No problem, with a little more cash as "penalty" for being late, I flagged a cab upon reaching the side of the road along Tampines Avenue 9.

I got the cab in record time fortunately and my plan to save myself was under way. I only needed the cab to trail the bus route and overtake it a few stops ahead before I alight and ultimately catch that last bus.

All was good and I was kind of relieved for a while until my cab turned the corner into Tampines Avenue 10. My seat was not even warm yet when I was caught in a traffic jam... my seat was going to get hot!

My bus to work plies through this road everyday and I have never experienced being caught in a traffic jam there. This morning saw a serious traffic jam that had set me back frustrated and just inching my way along the stretch of road for the next 15 minutes.

It would take about that same time for the whole cab journey from my home to work!
Inch by inch the cab moved forward and by then the cab had overtaken the bus that I was trying to catch, still making its way along Tampines Avenue 10... which by then, served no purpose anymore.

I could see two of the familiar faces I usually see taking the same bus in the morning, all frumpy looking, knowing they were stuck in the bus and were definitely going to be late for work.

Signs of an accident rather than a broken down vehicle or roadworks were evident when I heard the siren from the ambulance. I could see flashes of white and red lights farther up the road. I was hoping that whomever was involved in that was alright. Nobody wants to be caught in an accident and the nobody wants to inconvenience anyone as a result from it... but unfortunately, terrible things do happen.

After much endurance and anxiety just sitting in the cab and watching the fare meter flipping its numbers fast like a jackpot for the cab driver... by the way, I thought I saw the driver smiled a little when I happened to glance through his rear view mirror... the cause of the traffic jam revealed itself.

A garbage truck had skipped and mounted onto the curb and crashed into a tree, just before the junction between Tampines Avenue 10 and Old Tampines Road. Most probably, the driver lost focus and pumped the accelerator instead of the breaks.

I had an inkling that the cause of the traffic jam was an accident when I heard the siren from the ambulance. I just did not expect it to be serious enough to render a SDCF to come to the scene too to pry and cut open the doors off the truck.

The front of the truck at the driver's side was badly damaged. So too was the passenger's side.

By the time my cab passed the truck, the SDCF guys have already extricated both driver and his coworker out and into the ambulance.

I took the cab all the way to work instead. I reached work about the same time as I would if I had taken the bus on a normal day, which was not bad at all. The normal cab fare for the whole journey was about S$12.00 but it ballooned up to $18.50 because of the accident... a larger penalty sum to pay than the norm of $4.50 if my "catch that bus" plan were to work.

Nonetheless, I would rather be later than late, than never.

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