This morning I had to travel to work by public transport as I sent my car for 10,000km servicing to the authorised service centre. Initially I dreaded the thought that no longer can I get from home to office seamlessly. But as I got on the train, the groove came back to me, and the old thought that public transport is still more convenient came flooding back to my mind. Indeed it is fuss-free. Just board, wait, alight, walk, and you would have reached office in one piece. I can even run some errands along the way, like posting letter and buying coffee, activities that I would find it inconvenient if I were to drive to work.

Then at 11am, I received a called from the service centre. Apparently, they broke the wheel nut bracket when trying to remove the nuts (screws) on the wheels. To explain, the wheel nut bracket is an adapter that fits onto the nut of the screw to allow the wheel brace (screwdriver, in layman terms) to loosen the nut. If the bracket is missing or broken, then the wheel brace cannot loosen the nut, and the wheel cannot be removed.

So I had to take time-off, grab a cab to the tyre shop that fitted the wheels, bought the bracket, took another cab to the service centre, and passed the bracket to the service guy. Then he tried it on and oops, it didn’t fit. So the guy called the tyre shop and he informed me that they had the right one. So I left it to them to sort it out while I took a bus to the train station and headed back to office (no more cab rides, too expensive). I was told the car would be ready by 3pm.

Then at 3pm, I received their call, with more negative news. Yes, they got the right bracket, and yes it fits. But, YES, it broke again! So the service centre had to drive the car down to the tyre shop to get it fixed. My car was finally ready for collection at 4.30pm.

An important lesson for a new car-owner: NEVER get those fanciful wheel rims with fanciful nuts. I’ll be damned if I get flat tyres on the road and I – or even the tow truck – can’t get the wheels changed.

I enjoy taking public transport, been doing that since a young age. It offers me lots of time along the journey to indulge in thoughts. But no doubt having a car delivers benefits of convenience, something that I also experienced today. I do feel somewhat handicapped when I had to run around. But again, the public transportation system did not let me down and I was able to accomplish the above errands without much hassle.

Today is also the day my wife took her first driving refresher course. Her first time behind the wheels on public roads since 10 years back, and she’s doing very well. See, driving is like riding a bike, except that while you can see every inch of the bike, you have to be one with the car, able to have good judgment when maneuvering the vehicle.

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