Wednesday, 12 May 2010

The Best Laid Plans...

Yesterday, I caught the bus to work for the first time in over three years. I've been thinking about doing this for the last couple of weeks, as the multi-storey where I park has just put it's prices up to a level which I'm finding difficult to justify. As if they'd somehow read my thoughts, the local bus company posted a timetable through my letterbox last week, along with a letter containing a voucher for a day's free travel on the bus - a 'taster Tuesday', if you will. I would, and I did.

My intention was to buy a metrocard from the bus station, so that I could start using the bus on a daily basis, leaving the car at home and saving myself a considerable amount of money. But all it took was a surly jobsworth in the Metro information office to change my mind. In fairness, she was trying to save me even more money by pointing out an alternative to the metrocard, but as someone who has to think about things for days before I do them, and who is easily confused, I could've done without her throwing me that particular curveball. "Oh," I said, "I thought I was coming here just to buy a metrocard... I didn't realise there was an alternative... I'll have to go away and think about that.." I'm kind of not surprised she's a surly jobsworth if she has to deal with people like me every day.

Another advantage to getting the bus would be that I'd have quite a long walk from the bus station to my place of work, and back in the afternoon, and God knows, I could do with the exercise. So out of curiosity about how far that is/how many steps, I attached my pedometer to my waistband, and off I strode. It's not an expensive pedometer. In fact, I think it was the cheapest one in the Argos catalogue. So it's kind of sensitive, but not in a good way. I suspect it added steps on every time the bus went over a bump in the road. So, based on no mathematical reasoning whatsoever, I decided that I would allow a margin of error of 50 steps throughout the day.

Arriving at work, it informed me that I'd done 419 steps, which seemed reasonable enough. I have a desk job so I wasn't expecting to do much walking throughout the day, but after a while I noticed that it didn't seem to be changing at all, even with the few steps I was taking to the printer, which is in another office. So, on my next loo visit, I decided to count the steps in my head. I got to around 60 before being distracted and losing count, but on checking the pedometer the figure hadn't changed at all. The fairly obvious moral to this story is: you get what you pay for.

All in all, the free bus journey wasn't exactly a resounding success. I didn't get my metrocard, which I'd been planning for some time, and instead am faced with having to make even more decisions and carry out further research into what would be the best option. And I've also no idea how many steps I did in the day. And in the meantime, I'm back to travelling to work by car, paying the daily fee in a haze of denial and telling myself it's not for much longer...

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