Driven to distraction

My wife located a free Christmas tree via social media, and today I went out to get it, from a condo in Pasir Panjong, about 15 minutes’ drive away. Usually I’d rely on a taxi but today I tried GrabCar, the homegrown-equivalent of Uber. I’ve never had much luck with Uber (generally the drivers fail the most rudimentary part of their task, in that they can’t find the building I live in. A 50-storey building in the middle of Singapore that was feted as the great monument to the guy who had been president for the previous four decades.) or indeed with Grab, but it was $3 cheaper. It was also about half an hour longer.

I should have known something was up when my driver took 15 minutes to make the 5 minute drive from Chinatown (bless the display on these apps for frustrating you by showing you exactly where your driver is) to my building, and then calling me up to ask where he should go (when I’d told him exactly which lift lobby I’d be waiting at) and then asking if he should go into carpark F. I’m in carpark C. I told him to go to carpark C, repeatedly, then gave up and walked round the building to find him at the main entrance. I’m glad I wasn’t dragging a Christmas tree or two kids at this point.

Off we set on our journey, and part way through he asked me whether he should take the highway or the local road. I don’t usually mind when a driver offers you this choice (although you’d expect they’d know you want to get to where you’re going as fast as possible and don’t really care how that’s achieved) but it’s not so great when you’re asked this question as the car is being driven towards the concrete divider twixt exit ramp and highway. If I wanted to drive like an idiot, I’d buy my own car. You’re meant to make the decisions, uncle.

Still, we didn’t die and eventually got close to the address I wanted to go to. It’s number 200 on a reasonably large, wide road. It’s not house 3 on a random cul-de-sac round the corner and up a hill. So of course, you can guess where my driver went to. I didn’t even bother remonstrating, just got out and walked the rest of it, although as he was taking so long to back out there was that awkward situation where you can see the person who was meant to take you somewhere, not having taken you there, trying to reverse out of it. There is no there there, etc.

So, I think that’s my first review done of 2017. Now I’m off to go for another run.

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