I had just driven out of Jurong Point to rush home, have a bit of rest be4 heading out to watch the tribute to Kurt Weill’s songs at the Old Parliament House.
So, I wasn’t amused when the taxi pulling out of a taxi stand and then overtaking me on the driver’s side tooted at me. Both the driver and his passenger pointed at my car.
Oh, oh, the windows must be down, I thought, automatically checking the window control buttons on the inside of the door on my side. No, all the windows were up! So what the heck was the taxi driver tooting about?
As the lights had turned red, I managed to catch up with the taxi and drew up in the lane next to it, lowered my window and gestured at the driver and his passenger. He lowered his window and uttered words I’d not heard for a long time — perhaps years!
“Tyre puncture! Rear wheel.”
“Your tyre’s punctured,” he repeated, putting forefinger and thumb together to demonstrate that the wheel’s flat. He even threw in some gratuitous advice as I looked non-plus.
“Go to the nearest petrol station .. get it fixed”
The lights changed and we went our separate ways.
Looking for a petrol kiosk along the stretch of Boon Lay Way and Commonwealth Avenue was as like looking for a prestigious school. Not one in sight.
Anyway, I didn’t feel any bumpiness as i drove and exclaimed that the taxi uncle must have been pulling a fast one. Mum’s Picky who was in the car spoke up for him.
“Why should he? He doesn’t know us!”
So, though ambivalent about the trustworthiness of what I was told, I did finally pull into a petrol station I use regularly once I was back in my part of the world.
And sure enough, the rear tyre sagged sadly. It was punctured.
To cut a long story short, a petrol pump attendant took off the bad tyre and replaced it with the spare one in my boot.
As I didn’t have time to have the car checked at a proper tyre shop, I decided against driving Downtown — I had visions of the spare tyre falling off as I was caught in a bad traffic jam along Sungei/Rochor Road stretch!
So I called a taxi to take me to the Kurt Weill performance and after a 10-minute wait one arrived. I wasn’t in a good mood, as I had a dinner appointment at the Singapore Cricket Club be4 the show and time was running short.
Not surprisingly I was terse with the driver when he asked whether he should take the Istana route.
“Why take that route and cause me to pay more ERP charges?” I snapped. “You go all the way down Rochor Road and then turn off at North Bridge Road or Beach Road..”
The taxi uncle was suitably silenced and used the route as instructed.
When I got to my destination, he asked whether i needed a receipt.
“Of course!” (I was still in a baaaaad mood).
Thus I was suitably chastised when he said I need pay only $18 for the $18.20 bill.
It was very kind of him to waive the 20 cents.
After $3.50 for the taxi booking fee and $2 ERP charge, the taxi fare came to $12.50 which makes me realise with a jolt that even taxis aren’t cheap any more. Making the need to live as close as possible to an MRT station more of an imperative than ever!
Correction: $3.50 of the $12.50 taxifare was in fact a peak hour surcharge! 😦