The Things I Do...
Friday. 23rd March. 1100hrs
I woke up by the sound of my mobile. It was my dad. Aren't you suppose to pick up the machine this morning? He said. Good God! I yelled. Quickly, I rose from the bed and made a beeline towards the bathroom. While brushing my teeth, my head was rushing with plans and how could I be able to pick up and send the machine, pick up the cheque for the machine and send it to Headquarters in less than 2 hours?
I got dress afterwards. As usual, a black baju Melayu and a pair of worn out black jeans. I've always had an affinity for black. Maybe because it makes me look slimmer, or maybe it's the Dark Goth in me. Sometimes, I would end up wearing eyeliners just for the heck of it. Soon after, I reach for my glasses and car keys.
I made coffee in a tumbler. Had been a caffeine addict for months now. Seems I can be quite mean on days without coffee. With the tumbler in one hand in car keys in another, I was ready to take on the world. So to speak.
My car. How I wish I could explain how badly the car needs a total overhaul. It's paint job cracks here and there, not to mention having one of the ugliest colors I've ever seen, the wipers are totally blown, whenever it rains I'm done for. The seats, dear God, the seats are an absolute washout. The steering wheel's sticky with glue, I have no clue how that happen. I can't open up the boot without help, I have to warm up the engine first before I go anywhere. The car is in such a bad shape that it is priced at a mere MYR1000.
I start the engine. Takes a few tries but it manages to come alive after a few coughs. Took a sip of coffee and burnt my tongue. Said a few choice curses and off I go.
I had to pick up dad, because it is such a bore going places all by myself. At least daddy and I could have some male bonding. We talked about politics and made fun of other people. Namely the other drivers that was driving on Federal Highway.
The destination is in Subang. More precisely, it's in the Industrial Park in Subang. I thank God that a colleague of mine already knew how to get there. If I had to find the place on my own, God knows I'll get lost.
It was somesort of a leisurely drive. What with my car being a semiwreck. It didn't take long for me to get there. At least I had a vague idea of where it is and how to get there. My colleague did say that I'll just have to follow the road. I had to admit, I was close to panic. Until, I reached a hugh sign that says "Proton-Hicom" with an arrow pointing right. By then, I knew I had the right way.
I reached Servex the distributor in about half hour. I have to admit, the drive and dad for company. It was pretty fun. The place was big, I had no idea it was this big. I had thought it was like one of those plots on a factory sets. But, I was so wrong. It even has a guard house. Which seems to be empty. Or so I thought.
I parked my car as close to Servex as possible. Wouldn't want to have a long walk. I strode right into the compound without a care. Then, I heard a noise. A voice calling me back. I took a few steps backwards and saw a guard with a scowl on his face. Don't know whether he was mad with me or angry because I woke him up. Nonetheless it was still my fault. He told me to sign in. So, I did. Told him I was sorry, but he just shrugs it off.
I continued my uncaring stroll into the compound and went in through the Self Collect Office. My presence was undetected. Or rather they just didn't care who I was. Well, they had to unlock the door in order to let me in. So, they must've known that I was there. But, no. Nothing. I had to make a tiny squeak in order to get attention. That was a knife in the ego.
I told one of them, that I was there to pick up a 12" PowerBook. Then, after knowing that, she went wild at her computer. Trying to find an invoice for the machine. It wasn't hectic, and I didn't have to wait long. But, it sure felt like the world was coming to and end what with all the people rushing in and out.
The PowerBook arrived in just a couple of minutes. I squeaked with glee. Happy to know that the dread that has been haunting me is just hours away to end. Been through weeks with the panic and nightmares, what's a few hours?
The reason why I had to do this was because, three weeks back, I had a customer who deposited 10% of the full purchase for the machine. The customer was promised, I repeat promised, to have the machine in at least a weeks time. Which was confirmed by my purchaser herself. Now, three weeks later, the machine is still not sent and the customer's getting mighty miffed because of it.
As how the English would put it, if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. Basically, I threw caution to the wind and took matters into my own hands. That's how this adventurous day became to be.
After signing some papers, I took the PowerBook with a smile on my face and a song in my heart. I was very happy to know that my pain and suffering would go away. Soon, I reached my car and started the engine. My dad asked why did it took such a short time? I just told him that maybe it was because of I smiled a lot. He just snuffed the idea right out the window. Fathers, without them you won't be born. With them, you get sarcasm throughout your entire life.
I lit up a cigarette and made my move. I thought to myself that it's already late and I have prayers to do. It was already twelve in the afternoon and I had to race back to send my dad home and I have to go for Friday Prayers. So, I had planned to send the machine and softwares after prayers. I wasn't really racing for home because I got stuck in the highway. It's a Friday, you always get traffic jams on a Friday. In that traffic though I notice this beautiful BMW M3 with metallic red finish. It was obvious that he had side skirts and spoilers installed. The body kit completes the M3 nicely. At that very moment, I could've wished that I was driving that piece of Heaven. But dad was all chatty about drivers not minding other people, and how other people couldn't care less about anything else. Somehow, I kind of felt some sarcasm there. But, with my dad. It's hard to tell unless it's too obvious. He's so subtle with these things.
After about fifteen minutes of traffic. Much to my father's discomfort, which he gladly shows, I manage to weave in and out of traffic to reach home. After he got off, and I drop off the machine, I made my way over towards the local Mosque. Most commonly known as Masjid Bulat.
Fridays Prayers are usually my rest period. Both physically and mentally. It's this serene feeling you get when you enter the mosque. With only one intent, that is prayer, I relaxed into a cool, calm state.
The ablution helps, quite a lot. What had happen this morning, although may not be disturbing, was tiring enough. With water flowing on my face, arms and feet, I felt rejuvenated.
After prayer comes the hard part. Sending the machine and softwares to the customer. The customer's office is located nearby Masjid Jamek, it's either I'll take the LRT or just drive. When I thought of the "drive", I winced. I knew that the traffic would be at it's worst if I were to drive there.
I called up the office to make sure the procedures I've done was correct. Turns out that it was incorrect and I had to go back to the office to correct it. God, I said, it didn't turn out quite as planned. Now, I have to race back to the office and correct my mistakes and rush to the customer's place via LRT.
Yes, I know, the LRT can be somewhat of a pain. But, it is conveniently located in Masjid Jamek, and the Jelatek station is not far off from Headquarters. So, I thought that I should just grit my teeth and go for it. There's too much at stake, I exaggerated.
To make matters worse, it started to drizzle. Little drops of rain starts to fall. Oh God no! I cringed. As I have mentioned, my car has wipers for cosmetic purposes and has no use. I must hurry.
I reached home to pick up the machine and softwares, I'd wanted to have dad as company but he's already asleep. Having his afternoon nap. I decided against waking him up and went off to my office. In the drizzling rain.
The rain, how I welcome it. If I'm not driving of course. I've loved the rain. I love the fact that it makes me wet. It feels as if it washes the dirt off of me. I get high with each droplet of rain on my skin. When it's pouring, the sheer mass itself is like a shower from the Heavens. Thunderous roars and blinding lightning makes me realize how alive I am. Thinking about it makes me smile. It's been a very long while since I've enjoyed a good rain shower.
But, in the car it's a whole other story. It may be drizzling but it was enough to obstruct my view. Like it or not, I had to open my driver side window. If not, the windshield will fog up and it would make things worst. Eyesight wise that is. I have gone through worse but I would never take these things lightly. Never underestimate mother nature for her wrath can be far worse than having a zipper stuck on the nuts.
There was one time that I went through a storm. I could see nothing but water on my windscreen. I was using the Kuching highway and the potholes there were all filled with water. But I digress. Back to the driving, the rain was pouring harder. Nevertheless, I manage to reach the office safely. Thank God for that.
Parked my car and went my way towards the office. I was hoping that I could use any one of my colleagues car since it was raining, but to no avail. Back to stage one, I thought. With the paperwork settled and everything ready. I persuaded one of my colleagues to at least send me to an LRT station.
With the PowerBook on one hand the softwares on the other, my colleague and I went to the parking lot. To my surprise, the drizzling stopped. Somehow, somewhere, deep inside my subconscious mind, there was a loud scream of regret.
With my colleague driving, I, on the passenger seat, was screaming wildly in my mind. Saying I should have brought the car, over and over again. I was on the verge of asking my colleague to pull back. Then, we reached the Kelana Jaya LRT Station. I blink four times to realize we've reached the station. The sheer disbelief was overpowering. I held my breathe and sighed deeply. There's no turning back now.
I took my first few steps towards the ticket counter. Granted, I have to climb two flights of stairs to get there. Paranoia haunts my very soul for the fact that I was carrying over MYR9000 worth of merchandise. Anything happens, I'm responsible.
After purchasing the ticket, I braced myself for the worst. Whatever happens, I am going to give one heck of a fight. I'll make them feel sorry to even glean on any of the merchandise. I put on my best scowl. Made sure that nobody wants a piece of me. And waited.
The last time I felt this defensive when I was protecting my brother from hordes of blood thirsty criminals. So I exaggerate, give me a break. I really didn't want to show any weakness, not even a tiny glimpse. I tighten my grip on the merchandise, hoarding it like Gollum with his precious.
To think that anything bad would happen. Nothing did ever happen. People just went on their lives. I was just a mere nobody. A speck in a giant world. Somehow, the crowds lack of interest made me feel slightly better. Until I caught a girl looking at the PowerBook.
She was of average height, nothing special about her. Pair of jeans and a shirt to match. Shoulder length hair and dark brown eyes. Most probably 18 to 20 years of age. I burn her facial images in my head just in case something happens. I glared at her. Stared at her. I gave her the worst of my sights.
Well, not so much of a scream but more in the line of surprised fright. I guess that I must've made such a look that she find it frightening. I paid no mind on what she was talking about to her friends. I just stared on the floor for as long as the train ride. None of that silly glaring business anymore.
I've reached Masjid Jamek without a hitch. Looked around and sighed a relief that the girl was no where to be seen. I then quickly head my way over to the customer's place. It wasn't so far off, just beside the Star LRT station on the other side of the street. I hurriedly cross the street and jog my way over. Can't run, these are expensive stuff.
Another two flights of stairs later, I made a mental note of exercising more. It seems all that staring and glaring, not to mention the quick street crossing and the speed stair climbing, has depleted half of my stamina. At least, now I can rest because I have reached my destination.
About fifteen minutes and a couple of small talks later, I've made the exchange, signed some papers and collected a cheque. Earlier back at the office I have received a cheque for an iMac before. Now, I have to send in two cheques to the Headquarters before five. I said my farewell, and were on my way to Headquarters.
The time was 1600hrs. Barely have enough time to cover the distance. What am I saying? I've already sent the stuff, I don't have to hurry to send in the cheque. True I have to rush, but, I don't think some miracle would land me in the Headquarters in a blink of an eye. Again, I took the dreaded LRT.
The worst side of the LRT has begun to show it's ugly head. The passengers has slowly increase in numbers. My stop was about 7 stations away and I know it's going to be a bumpy ride. I don't know whether to smile or cry when I found out my presumptions were correct. The amassing amount of presumptuous populace has made me a nervous wreck. True there are just going about their lives. Another day another dollar. They drone out the daily hazards and manages to go through another perilous week. I congratulate them for the courage. But, I just cannot stand crowds. Crowds brings the worst in me.
Station Jelatek reached and I quickly ran out of the train. But not without waiting in front of the door that doesn't seem to open. It just stuck there, with it's hydraulics churning away doing whatever it can to make the door open. I couldn't stand it any longer and wedge my fingers between the leaves and pry it open using what's left of my strength. It groaned and strained under pressure. With the help of the hydraulics, I forced it open. With a pant and a wheeze, I stepped out of the train. Only to realize that hundreds upon hundreds of eyes were looking at me.
My heart races, thump by thump it jumps. My mind runs a thousand and one excuses. Blood gushes through my face, making it warm and itch. My shoulders shudder of a sudden chill. My hand twitches. My eyes waters for no reason. My legs started to give. I made an effort not to show any emotion. Mere seconds pasts to what seems like an eternity.
Turns out that the door was troublesome. Seems I fixed it without any tools whatsoever. There was no cheers though. Just a couple of guys thanking me for doing their job. I just left.
With mere minutes to spare, I casually lit up a cigarette and walked my way over to Headquarters.
To think that I thought that nothing bad could happen. Something bad happen. Not to me, but to someone else. There was this guy on a motorbike speeding through the traffic, when he bumped into something hard and flew about 7 meters away. Good God, what a sight. It was like watching Superman flying low on the city streets. Until he hits the ground.
He rolls on the ground like an armadillo rolling down a hill. Tosses and tumbles and he comes to a stop. A complete stop. I closed my gaping mouth and hurried over to the scene. Which did not went without the knowledge of any other pedestrian, drivers, motor riders, and/or cabbies. This is Malaysia after all, watching an accident happen is like seeing an idol walking by. It holds you in awe.
Being one of the first, I tried to pull him up. Which was actually quite easy. Until I realize he was standing up by himself. With absolute silence I watch him, a few nicks and cuts, bruises on his chin and cheek. All in all, there wasn't a single bone broken. Not that I was wishing for any broken bones.
He stood up. Mumbled some swears and told me, and everyone else, he's fine. Such strength. Such heroism. He went through such an embarrassing moment without any problems whatsoever. I admire his lack of feelings. The lack to feel humiliated at that.
Afterwards, I make my way to Headquarters. After what had happen, I'm sure nothing would surprise me. God, was I so wrong. Deep down inside my gut, I knew something would happen. Something that would affect my ego.
Upon reaching Headquarters, I was greeted with my fellow workmates. I passed the check to the accountant and rested. Nothing much had happen then. Just some more small talk and a little gossip here and there.
With renewed strength, I head on to my final journey. My journey home. And again, the LRT. The time was 1735hrs. The time where the LRT is at it's fullest worst condition. Nightmares that could make grown men cry. The ever so dreaded, Rush Hour.
The walk back to the LRT station wasn't so bad. In fact, it felt shorter than before. The motorbike that had an accident earlier was no where to be seen. Traffic policemen polices the traffic, and it does little to help what little humanity has from the scourge that is the traffic jam. There are cars as far as the eyes can see. Temperature rises to a staggering 40 degrees in the nearby vicinity.
As for me, there are other scourges that waits for me in the LRT.
It starts innocently enough. As I had expected, the train I rode had all the seats taken. Luckily, I thought, I can still lean against that plastic panel beside the door. A choice that was absolutely poor on my part. I am human after all, and being human, I cannot predict what's going to happen to me.
Then, after passing a few stations. The passengers are getting packed. More and more people poured into the train like it was the Gates of Heaven itself. Nobody gave any leeway whatsoever, everyone squirmed and squished themselves against one another until there are no room to even wiggle.
The pack was getting packer. It was jampacked like a humpbacked whale riding a small lorry. It was packed like a team of rugby players crammed into a small electric powered vehicle. It was Hell in all it's glory, only packed with more souls that Lucifer himself, could ever fathom.
Then, it gets worse. I could have not known that it could get any worse than it already is. But, it got worse. A tall slender caucasian male strode in, more likely, forced himself in with two, repeat, two giant duffel bags filled with God knows what. He wore those bags front and back. I was hoping for feathered pillows but I was wrong. Never was I so wrong than I was wrong at that very moment.
It was full. The duffel bags were absolutely full. It was hard and it was lumpy. Dear God, I had really thought that he brought stones into the train just to see whether it affects the speed. Those two duffel bags, the caucasian male, headed towards, or rather, pushed towards me. He didn't face me back his back was. And his bag. Oh God, his bag.
I prayed a small prayer thanking God has given me life up until now. I felt his bag flatten my chest and threatened to squeeze the very air out of me. My very lungs were squashed and I felt my arms go numb. The bag pushes more and more, the faster the train goes, the heavier the bag gets.
Oh... looks like I have to continue some other time. It literally took me a whole day just to do this blog. I guess I was in such a rusty state that my job is mediocre at best. I guess I should do more reading. I squeezed all my literary skills, not to mention illiteracy, just to get this far. Hopefully I can do more later on. Wish me the best.
Azarul Carlyle Einhander