I had a very pleasant afternoon at Ya Udah yesterday discussing recording techniques, clarifying the role of an editor and a pay scale, and quaffing a couple of Bintangs as a delayed celebration of my good news.
Around 5 o'clock I decided it was time to wend my way home and I stood at the nearby intersection of five roads to await an empty taxi. After twenty minutes observing the mayhem caused by all manner of vehicles not 'obeying' the functioning traffic lights, my ride similarly cut across the flow and I got in.
The first words the driver said to me were "Macet total, mister". And he was right. We went just 50 metres and stopped at the end of an incredibly lengthy tailback. It was then I realised that not only was this the Friday rush hour, but it was even worse because it was also the eve of the fasting month of Ramadhan when the city slows down.
So I went back to Ya Udah and enjoyed one of their Chef's Salads, a couple more Bintangs and discussed a possible bird watching day with good friend and well-known twitcher, DJ.
A couple of hours later, the traffic din having dimmed, I set off for home again. And lo, we got trapped in another lengthy tailback. From my back seat I gave myself an adrenaline rush mentally composing an expletive-laden scenario whereby I'd smash to pieces every motorbike trying to jump the queue by using the sidewalks whilst trying to knock some sense and civility into the skulls of their riders, including those who actually wore crash helmets.
The cause of the tailback was reached.
Not unexpectedly, it was a group of policemen castigating errant motorcyclists and, no doubt, adding to their Idul Fitri bonuses.
Ah, I thought, we are about to spend a month trying to be good people and to not yield to temptation.
It's ten the following morning as I type this, our street is pleasantly quiet and I'm the only one astir in Jakartass Towers as the family sleeps off the four o'clock in the morning pre-fast feast.
Here's wishing all good Muslims, and everyone else, a peaceful month.