Jakarta traffic can be as unpredictable as London weather.
They were cruising along to Soekarno-Hatta airport in Jakarta well ahead of time, managed to reach the last mile 30 minutes ahead of schedule. The domestic terminal, the cargo terminal and the flights that were approaching the boarding gates were the familiar scenes that told them they had almost reached the airport. They had successfully avoided long weekend rush hour traffic that everyone had warned them about. Now it was time to let the hair down and crack some jokes.
After a few rounds of long winded office jokes, the worry-wheel guy said in a concerned tone, ‘Guys, we haven’t moved an inch in last ten minutes.’
Laughter dampened but to reassure everyone the tech-guy opened google maps, punched in some keys and said, ‘We will reach in 7 minutes. I have always used Google map. Never got it wrong.’ And he started his next joke.
The worry-wheel lost his interest in jokes and started looking outside nervously. He noticed some Ojeks – Indonesia’s traditional two wheeler taxis amidst large swanky cars.
The well-planned guy double checked his e-boarding pass and said to himself, ‘I don’t even have a check-in luggage. Even if I reach 45 mins later, it is OK.’
The sleepy-impulse guy was snoring all this while. As the vehicle didn’t move for a while, he woke up. He saw the tech-guy telling a familiar joke, the well-planned guy pretending to listen and the worry-wheel looking outside with the usual worrisome look.
He asked the worry-wheel, ‘Whats up, dude?’
‘These Ojeks are picking up passengers from taxis and dropping them to airport. Perhaps, those who are about to miss their flights. They must be charging a bomb.’ The worry-wheel replied.
‘Not everyone knows how to use technology to their advantage like us. We will be there well ahead of time says Google’, the tech-guy proudly glanced at his Google maps again and reassured.
‘Dude, what if Google is wrong’, asked the worry-wheel meekly.
‘Google is never wrong’, the tech-guy was so authoritative that the discussion ended abruptly.
‘Besides, we have already done the web-check in. We had the called the cab. Estimated the time, planned the route. Everything is going as per our plan’, the well-planned guy was quite sure. He also showed his bar code boarding pass proudly.
‘In case the airport security doesn’t accept this, I have also taken a print out’ , said the worry-wheel to reassure himself.
The impulse-guy paid scant attention as he was watching the Ojeks.
‘… And let me guess, you haven’t done any of these things, right?’, the well-planned guy asked a pointed question to the impulse-guy.
The impulse-guy smiled sheepishly and said, ‘Well, it didn’t occur to me.’
‘He is not even on the same flight as us. Because he forgot to book the flight. I wonder how he can do that’, the worry-wheel supplied the crucial but uncomfortable information to the group.
Everyone was aghast. The impulse-guy was non-chalant.
‘You are bound to miss your flight’, the worry-wheel was quite concerned.
‘What do you mean by didn’t occur to me? Don’t you plan?’ the well-planned guy was infuriated by that weirdly insane comment.
‘Didn’t you miss your flight three months back too?’, the tech-guy was sarcastic.
‘Well, I decided to go to Bangkok instead of Singapore last time’, said the impulse-guy unconvincingly.
‘Aren’t you worried? What are you going to do now?’ the quintessential worry-wheel.
‘I have never done this before. It would be an unique experience’, the impulse-guy was talking about riding the Ojek amidst traffic that resembled a parking lot. ‘It would be fun!’ He exclaimed and in a flash got out of the cab and waved at an Ojek.
‘There is no reason to do this. Everything is going as per our plan. He is not running away from taxi but running away from making a good plan’, the well-planned guy said.
‘He is taking undue risk’, exclaimed the worry-wheel.
‘He is the biggest non-tech guy, I have ever seen. He doesn’t even know what on-line check-in means’, the tech-guy was really irritated.
They dismissed his maverick ways and resumed their discussions.
(30 minutes, 6 jokes and 100 meters later)
‘We couldn’t have planned for such scenario. I mean we were at the airport entrance 45 minutes ahead of schedule still we haven’t managed to reach the terminal’, the well-planned guy was irritated beyond consolation.
‘Oh my god! Google is not predicting the arrival time now. May be the signal in this area is weak. What do we do now?’ as google stopped communicating the tech-guy panicked.
‘I knew this would happen’, the worry-wheel had nothing else to add.
(In the flight)
‘It was a great experience. The bike pierced through rows of stationary cars. Then this guy took a detour in paddy fields on an unpaved road. He honked at the cars that strayed on the shoulder-that was his lane. Then he entered the airport through parking and dropped me off at arrivals. He took a lot of money but the experience was worth it. I could have caught my flight like my colleagues too but this bike ride was great fun’, the impulse-guy was talking enthusiastically to a co-passenger sipping on his orange juice.
You never know what you are gonna get when you ride on your impulse!