Brother has been overseas for a couple of weeks now, tasking me with giving his 4-wheeled bundle of joy a bit of a stretch every now and then to keep her nimble and her battery topped up.
So today, instead of my usual bike/train arrangement, I schemed to drive the car to work.
While gobbling down my morning muesli, I couldn’t help feeling excited from the novelty of my grand plan. Just to be clear, in all my university and working years, I’d never found myself in an arrangement that required a daily commute behind the wheel from yours truly.
As I entered the garage, I was greeted with a perky chrip-chirp upon announcing my presence with the remote. Tossing my backpack in the back seat was sheer delight. Starting up the car and pulling out of the basement, divine.
My very first traffic light intersection, though, obliterated all sense of excitement and novelty. Glee morphed to dread. Within mere minutes in, the desire to savour every bit of this very curious journey quickly evolved into a wanting to get off the road as soon as possible.
All this while going in the opposite direction of peak traffic.
My daily commute to work over the last 9 months has always been akin to a favourite wrinkle on a pillowcase that never goes away no matter how hot you turn up the iron. Irrespective of how similar the cultural background, social-standing and lifestyle, it is the kind of conversation material that leaves the conversing partner with little to add to, and beckons change of topic. In a tree data structure, this would be a leaf node.
So to keep things interesting, I’d come up with a variety of statements to at least afford a good chuckle, easing the transition into a change of topic.
If I’m feeling eco-friendly, I’d spout something like “It’s one less car on the road”.
Money wise? “Cheaper than a car and petrol”.
Health conscious? “I get a good dose of exercise without even trying”.
Zen: “More than an hour every day to quieten my mind and sift through my thoughts”.
Feeling a little bit fancy? “It’s like getting driven to work every day”.
Oh so productive: “I get to sort out all my emails during my commute. See my 3G phone, it’s got this data tethering thing…”
Up till today, they have been well varnish pieces of wood scraps that I’d so carefully glued together, polished and stowed away in my quiver of self-conviction, just in case someone scoffs, or levies a page out of the very South East Asian my-ride-is-my-pride gamebook against me.
But today, something changed.
As I trudged westward on the “sparser” side of the road, eyes squinted and limbs baked in the the pre-evening sun, concluding my ridiculous* commute, every one my excuses made up for the sake of conversation-flair, turned to teak encrusted in gold.
How genuinely lucky am I, to be able to bike and ride the train tomorrow.
*total distance: 54.68km
total time: 1h 53m
total moving time: 1h 10m
avg. speed 28.64km/h
avg. moving speed: 45.74km/h