Rush Hour (continued…)

The train slowed down as it reached the interchange and came to a complete halt. But wait…this wasn’t the station, it was a few hundred meters before the station. Our train was waiting for the train that was currently boarding passengers to leave before it could pull in. You can infer from this how long of a wait it is on the platform for the next train. It’s often less than a minute. Having had grand delusions about doing my part for the community I was now in the center of the car, the place dreaded and  avoided by all commuters.
– Why move to the center when that would just mean you would take longer to get off when you got to your stop? Never mind if you’re traveling ten or twelve stops, access to the door is all important you see –

When the doors finally slide open at Jurong East, twenty or thirty people vie for the few remaining spots in the car. I get crushed between the un-deodarized armpit of  a man who  is holding on to the top bar of the hand rail instead of the little loops you’re supposed to use and a very well dressed lady in very high heeled and very beautiful gold pumps. She looked at me in the way us rush hour folks look at each other, that veiled confrontational look. It’s the ‘I-don’t-want-to-look-you-in-the-eye-in-such-close-quarters BUT… scuff my pumps and die!’ look. I admired her shoes shining in the morning sunshine and plotted my strategy of how to get past her as I needed to get off at the next stop. “Excuse me” I said meekly and well in time as the train pulled up at the station. She graciously moved aside and disaster was averted. She didn’t know it but it would have broken my heart to have scuffed those pretties. Emboldened by my success I forged ahead trying to get to the exit in time. Nobody else seemed to care that I was panicking and I had no choice but to use my bag filled with the new Richard Powers novel I had picked up from the library yesterday as a battering ram to get me through the crowd and out the door in time. Phew…now all I had to do was try to get a spot on the feeder bus that got me to work.

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September 28, 2009. Singapore life.

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