Remember that short poem which goes, amongst others “If you want to know the value of ten minutes, ask someone who has just missed his plane”? Well, with one of my most humbling, full-disclosure posts so far, I admit that I have nearly experienced this. I say ‘nearly’ not because I managed to catch it in the end, but it was because what I missed was a bus, not a plane. But an international, cross-border bus journey all the same.
It wasn’t a very good weekend, this last one. It was the long Hari Malaysia weekend where most of the country celebrated the surprisingly positive government announcement on political security policies (and the rest jeered mistrustingly). Hubby had gone to JB/Singapore for a two-day working visit with IEM to see Iskandar, shipyard and the MRT (or whatever engineers find interesting these days) and I had packed up and brought Umar on a bus to join him in Singapore, where we were going to the region’s only Universal Studios for the first time.
Many things went wrong, but the biggest event was totally out of our control and solely in God’s hands: that the two boys would come down with fever while we were just halfway through the day with the rides at Universal Studios. Staying with a friend, we ended up going back to his apartment near Orchard Road and I tended to both of them for the rest of the day and even once in the wee hours of the morning. The one trip I didn’t bring a thermometer with me and there they both went – off the mercurial charts.
It was the next day, Sunday that everything went from bad to worse. Waking up late (after spending the early hours trying to cool their overheating bodies with wet tea towels from our friend’s kitchen) I pitched to the hubby that we could try to find an earlier means of transportation in case Umar’s fever spikes up during our 5-hour bus ride scheduled for 7pm later that night. Spending hours worrying about them in a cozy apartment was one thing; spending it stuck in a bus with no tools and resources was another. I wanted to get back home asap so that I could be near the clinics and a comfortable environment. He agreed, so off we went to JB and attempted to find an earlier bus, or even a decent-value taxi ride (we had checked AirAsia and last-minute ticket prices were exorbitant) from JB to KL.
Unfortunately, the trip turned in the negative. It turned out that we had to keep ferrying between JB city (where the legal JB-Spore taxi stand was) and Larkin bus station (with all buses to KL) only to find out that almost all buses much earlier than our scheduled Singapore bus was sold out. A taxi to KL would cost RM460, which was the option I was inclined to, seeing that we were already saving money by staying with our friend and could afford to splurge for an emergency case. Hubby disagreed and thought we should buy the 5.30pm bus tickets to KL still available. In the end I pitched to him that for the time and comfort difference we might as well return to Singapore city and catch our scheduled bus. He agreed and we returned to Singapore.
What else could go wrong? Well, how about the fact that I totally did not think of checking the departure time and ended up causing all three of us to actually miss the bus. I don’t have any excuse for this whatsoever; somehow for some weird reason I was convinced that the bus was at 7pm and never thought to refer to the tickets. Upon checking in at the bus counter at Harbourfront station, we discovered with dismay that the bus was actually scheduled for 6pm and we had, in short, missed it.
As I said, I had no excuses. And after such a long weekend and a tiring day traveling looking for alternative ways home only to find I had screwed up on the main one, I was distraught. Hubby’s lips were set firm in a straight line; when I asked whether should we just throw in the towel, forget about costs and just head to the airport, he just said curtly that the day’s events had been mostly my own doing (since a lot of the decisions were pitched by me) and so I may as well just head to the next one decision and get us out of there (he was, after all, still having a fever and totally not in the mood). We took a taxi to the airport, where I prayed feverishly that there would still be tickets (which I also prayed to be within a certain price range), which Alhamdulillah was at least granted to us. Two hours later (including waiting time) we arrived at LCCT and managed to have a short dinner (my poor baby boy; I had completely disregarded the fact that there were no meals on short less-than-45-mins flights, so he was pretty hungry). All I can say is, I’ve never been so grateful and humbled to arrive in my own country and get to the comfort of my bed.
What else can I say? The bad days are actually blessings in disguise – they are certainly humbling and reminds you why there are the good ones. And as my mom always says, takpe, tolak bala besar. I’ll take it.