My Race with Oxontime.

I’m obsessed with Oxontime.  Grateful, but obsessed.

For those who don’t want to follow the link, Oxontime was developed so that you can check the bus schedule in Oxford in real-time.  You can do this at a stop or stop you wish to visit that does not have the lighted flashy flashy sign right on your mobile phone.  It’s very handy.

Thing is, it is also capable of giving you a bit of a weird competitive rush.  As I’ve moved further out of the city it isn’t actually possible to transverse all the way to work (or really close) as it once was.  It takes at least two buses in order for this to happen.  Three (possibly) if I want to go to Tesco.

That was my goal last night, Tesco.  Oh, you beacon of blue and white.  Tesco has really expanded in Oxford.  It’s now in city center and over by the courthouse, but the one in Cowley is the closest on the way home.  I had a coupon, you see, for 25 extra points if I purchased £1.50 or more in cereal.  I also had a co-worker who had a birthday and wanted peanut butter balls, so I needed peanut butter and melting chocolate. (They aren’t that complex in ingredients.)

I made the 4ABC (whatever) bus that would take me to the Queen’s Lane stop.  Queen’s Lane is in front of Queen’s College next to the Queen’s Lane coffee shop, which is a mecca for those waiting to go somewhere else.  While heading there I checked that the 1, 5, and 10 could all get me to my Tesco destination.  So when I jumped off at my stop I was ready for whatever bus came my way, and this time it was the 1.  It’s an eco-bus, apparently running off owls or something, and once I hopped on I looked ahead to the only bus that would get me home: 10.

Based on calculations I had 12 minutes from the entrance into Tesco until the arrival of the bus.  I was focused: peanut butter – check.  Cereal – che… oh wait.  I have to spend £1.50 in cereal in order to get 25 points and my cereal costs £1.48.  Crap.  I have to get another cereal.  Should I get the same one? No.  I like this cereal but I also like the Strawberry Granola… oooo… yes they have that.  Strawberry Granola, om nom nom.  Oh, wait, do they have that tea I like?  I’ve been carrying around this box top with the name, what’s the name?  (dig, dig, dig) Orange Mango Cinnamon.  Orange Mango Cinnamon, orangemangocinnamon… no.  Don’t see it.  Ginger and peppermint?  No, that sounds…

(Refreshing mobile screen) Oh crap I have 4 minutes until the bus.

Check out, crap, I have to check out or I’m stuck at Tesco for another 30 minutes.  I really don’t want to be here for another 30 minutes.  What?  This checkout isn’t scanning?  But my bus is coming.  Gotta beat the bus, gottabeatthebus.  Okay, checked out, see the bus.  Running, running…

Woo!  Made the bus!  Made the 10!  Yes!  I am awesome!  I am spectacular!

I forgot the melting chocolate.  Crap.  I remember this just as we drive away from the Co-Op shop, crap.  Crap, crap, crap.

I love Oxontime.  But I hate that it turns me into this ultra-competitive bus beating shopper.

My colleague got peanut butter cookies instead, so it’s not a total loss.

The end.

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