9.02.2012

A Delinquent Blogger


Upon request from my lovely friend, Geneva, I am returning to the blog-es-sphere to share with you my challenges, adventures and joys of living in Singapore.  

Genevers & me in Washington, D.C. a few years back . . .
Thank you, friend, for being the extra 'umph' to get me writing again!
(And, yes, this blog is changing radically just as my life changed oh-so-unexpectedly 9 months ago.  Remember my graduate school, GRE goals?  Yep, those are on hold right now as I explore the other side of the world!) 

So here’s my adventure in mass public transit 9,432,321 – and I’m not sure this is an exaggeration!   You’d think after 9 months of living in Singapore, I would finally be used to public transit here.  One would assume I would have mastered bus routes, bus schedules, best case locations to hail the multitude of taxis or even the quickest MRT (think clean, on-time, super crowed subway) route to work.  And you would think I would plan enough time for mishaps.  

You would think, right?  Read on. 

This morning started out behind.  The situation at 6am is this:  I am perhaps entirely unprepared for my EFL class (English as a Foreign Language) and I still need to possibly finish lesson planning.  Do you get where this is going yet?  The harried lesson planning turns into You Tube videos that wouldn’t load, a printer that wouldn’t connect to the wireless network and low ink issues.  Fun.  It may be time to leave in order to catch my regular bus but I have yet to stuff some breakfast in my face and shower (let’s not mention that I did not iron my outfit, blow-dry my hair nor wear any makeup).  So, by the time I’m ready to leave, taking the bus is out of the question, which necessitates calling a taxi at 8am.  Monday morning.  At rush hour.  Yep, that's right.  

Now I come prepared.  Remember, I’ve had 9,432,320 previous adventures to teach me a thing or two.  Armed with my two taxi-calling iPhone apps plus additional numbers saved in order to “jump the Q” (that’s how Singaporeans refer to jumping the line), I am amply prepared to locate a taxi in a pinch.  However, never once in 9 months have I “queued” a taxi 15+ times only to receive the message:  

52 minutes later - still no taxis.
This isn't good.   The “I missed my bus and no taxis were available” excuse does not exactly suffice with my Chinese-born-Japanese-acculturated-supervisor who daily uses mass public transit herself.   I’m also pretty sure she has never been late to work a day in her life.  I have exactly 30 minutes to cross half the city / country and 45 minutes before my students are awaiting a well-organized and executed lesson.   

What taxi stands - both physical and electronic - usually look like on Monday mornings!
After perhaps a few curses and prayers, I decide if I can’t queue a taxi electronically, then I will attempt to hail one street-side (brilliant plan during Monday morning rush hour, eh?).  Within 1 minute – no, maybe even 30 seconds – I see a promising green “TAXI” sign atop a beautifully available blue Comfort Cab.  I hail that sucker and make it to work 2 minutes ahead of schedule!

The many varied signs on S'porean taxis . . .
Monday's are notorious for every sign BUT the available green "TAXI".
Thank.  You.  God.  

But for those of you, readers, who glorify the environmental benefits, convenience and overall superiority of mass public transit, please consider your words carefully.  While 9 months ago I would have agreed with you wholeheartedly, if you haven’t experienced the frustrations of it first-hand, every day of the week, you have no idea what you're facing!  While I still agree there are still many pros to mass public transit, I do have a confession:  
There’re just some days I would give my right kidney to have my little green bug back, a couple ten lane highways that move at 70 mph and free employee parking.  

Stay tuned for more adventures tomorrow!

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