Okay, maybe I’m being dramatic. Waitaminnit, no I’m not. Yesterday’s traffic gridlock in KL was atrocious, maybe one of the worst in my 28 years of living here. With flash flooding, uprooted trees littering the roads, and buses and lorries breaking down right and left, driving through our fair city last night was about as entertaining as watching insurance policies mature. I was on my way home from covering the I Am Lomomalaysian exhibition in Galleriiizu, and as soon as i tried to get onto the road i was already stuck. It took me a full three hours – three hours, mind you! – to get from Wisma UOA back to my place in Ampang. For those of who aren’t familiar with my part of town, the trip from Wisma UOA to my place in Ampang would normally only take ten minutes.
Be that as it may, I didn’t see much of those KL traffic stereotypes we hold on to so dearly yesterday: no Articulately Complaining Yuppie in Continental Roadster; no Cup Chai Warrior knocking out people’s side mirrors; not even a Cranky Traffic Cop in Jodphurs 3 Sizes Too Small. Rather than being loud and irritated, I saw drivers seething in their cars, motorcyclists with eyes like vicious slits in their helmets. So this is what KLites are like when cornered into an inescapable situation. We’d rather bottle it all up than yell out our frustrations. Correct me if I’m wrong, but 9 out of 10 shrinks would say that’s unhealthy. It was chilling to see everyone around me looking tensely vengeful in their small steel boxes, like the little kid in the playground looking darkly blank as he gets stomped to the ground by the school bully. I wonder, with a repressed population that reacts inwardly as a knee jerk reaction, how much pressure would it take to pop the cork? And how long will it be til all of us get into a citywide situation worse than any traffic jam?
Don’t mind me. It’s probably just the gridlock talking.