Illustration by Bob AulI've been riding the OCTA bus to work since my beloved, antiquated Mercedes took a crap, but I have a healthy self-image—decent bank job, tremendous singing voice. So when I start the day freshly showered and wearing a pressed suit from JC Penney that screams out my modest contribution to society, I'm not alarmed to discover, upon reaching the bus stop, that I don't have exact change. This is the same bus at the same time with the same riders I've made part of my daily Tustin-to-Anaheim routine for three weeks. I'm a regular. And then I notice there's a different driver. “I don't have exact change,” I say good-naturedly. “All I have is a 20.”

“I'm sorry, but this meter accounts fares daily, and I cannot allow you to ride,” the automaton blankly informs me.

“Sir,” I respond, “I appreciate that our $1 fares help keep these well-maintained vehicles on the road, which is why I'll be glad to get change and pay the driver double next time.”

He says nothing. I civilly exit the bus, wait 35 minutes for another (at which point I have exact change), and arrive at my job 20 minutes late for a mandatory meeting. That wasn't so bad as missing out on the chance to ride next to the really, really hot chick who usually sits across the aisle from me—whom now, following the pathetic exact-fare debacle, I am hopelessly embarrassed to ask out. So, if you're reading this, you stone-cold, bus-driving douche bag, I hope your dreams go unfulfilled and that your life is filled with darkest despair.

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