Yesterday, through circumstance, I had the second half of the day off work. However, I had completely forgotten, and carpooled to work. About halfway through the day, I found myself with nothing to do but get home, but no car or bicycle with which to transport myself. "I know what to do!" I thought. "I've been wanting to try the bus for a while now! Surely the city of Austin's speedy, cleanly bus system can ferry me home".
You see, I have a confession. I am a feet/bike/train person. I've never taken a city bus. So I have no idea how it works. The first thing I discovered is that the nearest bus station is a mile from my job. So I took a shuttle halfway, then walked the rest of the way. I stopped at a convenience store to buy water and get cash back for the bus, which I assumed preferred cash. Despite expectations, though, I had stumbled into the only convenience store in America that doesn't do cash back. So, back on the sidewalk, I hoofed it the remaining half mile to the nearest bus stop praying their machine/fare box takes debit cards.
The bus arrives, and alas, my prior thought was correct - the bus takes cash, and bus passes, but no debit cards. So, I recommenced the walking, to the bus pavilion on the other side of the freeway. So I walked. I arrived at the Park & Ride Pavilion, which is a significantly sized area with a parking lot and a covered area to wait for your bus. I was working on the hope there would be some sort of ticket sales machine at the Pavilion, given it's size, but no.
Back to walking - I swung through the Academy next door, because I know they do in fact offer cash back. As is my habit, I took a turn through the bike department where I discovered they sell brand new, insanely cheap road bikes featuring stem mounted shifters. I wasn't in fact aware they still manufactured stem-mounted shifters.
They also had some pretty sweet bathing suits.
Camo, baby. Welcome to the south.
I ended up purchasing something, and got ten dollars back so I could finally, two hours of walking later, take the bus home. I got on my phone, checked Cap Metro's trip planner, and discovered that the itinerary to get me within a mile of my house would take an hour and a half, plus additional walking time home. So I admit it. I called my roommate to come pick me up. I fail at the bus. And all I could think the entire time was "I wish I had my bike."