This was supposed to be a simple column about taking a ride to the beach on the Siesta Shuttle.
Instead, it became a comedy of cascading errors in which I got lost, panicked and finally called for a cab ride back to the mainland — just as the bus pulled into the parking lot at Siesta Beach. How bad was my day? At one point, I was sitting in the Siesta parking lot with no shoes, no glasses, no keys, no wallet and no cellphone.
My future was blurry, if not bleak. If my daughter hadn’t rescued me, I’d probably still be sitting out there.
The timing of this debacle is awkward, too, because this is the week I start asking readers to follow me on Twitter.
My new slogan? “Follow me — just not on the bus to the beach.”
Parking at Siesta Beach can be a hassle, so the Siesta Shuttle makes sense. The idea is that you park at the Southgate Mall and pay $5 for an easy bus ride to the shore.
A bus pass is good for all day. I wanted to give it a try.
My daughter and her friend rode with me to Siesta Village for lunch. Very nice. Then we got back on the bus and rode down to Siesta Beach.
There was nobody else on the bus, so it was quiet and relaxing. We sat back and enjoyed the view while the bus driver wheeled through traffic. Then we got off the bus, walked onto the beach and everything went kerflooey.
What was I thinking?
It was a chilly day, but the beach was packed. We stretched out a beach blanket on an open spot near the yellow lifeguard stand.
After a while I got bored and went for a walk down the beach. When I got back, I couldn’t find them, even though I walked back and forth like a little boy looking for his mom.
That’s when I panicked. At first I thought they might have moved or gone back to the beach pavilion. Then I somehow convinced myself that they decided to catch the last bus to the mainland, so we wouldn’t be stranded, so they could get our car and come back for me. So I sat in the Siesta Beach parking lot and waited.
Finally, after about half an hour, my daughter came looking for me, because they had never moved from our original spot on the beach.
By that point, we thought we had missed the last bus, so we decided to invest $15 in a cab. Just as we got in and headed home, another Siesta Shuttle came down the road.
OK, this is where I ask you to follow me on Twitter: @thomasbecnel.
Think of it as a vote for outdoor recreation coverage in the Herald-Tribune. The more interest there is in this column, the more my editors will value it.
And if there’s no interest, well, this space might become a column called The View From the Couch, or Let’s Stay In This Weekend.