As I just dug through papers to find out: My one-room apt. lease expires officially on Feb. 2, 2015 (the leasing company insists on sucking every last dollar out of you! thus, not end-of-the-month January 31, per usual, but an extra 2 days of money for them -- and they want 60 days notice, not the regular 30 days. At this point in my life, 60 days is not annoying but, rather, exciting. As of November 30 (or, rather, December 2), 3 months from now, I really do FINALLY get to start thinking about, and actively looking for, a future outside of 400 square feet.
In the past couple of months of summer, I was already thinking about where I might like to live in the New Year. Was shocked to see my own apartment units on Craig's List for $915! (I'm currently paying $700.) And various nothing-special 600-sq-ft duplexes and garage apartments for $1300 or more. Luckily, post-September 1, things have calmed down a bit real-estate-ically since all the students have arrived in this college town. Duplexes/garage apartments in areas I'm interested in are currently back down to around $1000 on Craig's List.
There's a big life change in the next 5 months before my move-out date. For one thing, I've lived on the East Side from 2000 to 2007, then the NYC break, then again since 2010 until now. I like it here. My work is way up north, not a handy bus-ride at all. At first, once I got the new job, I automatically assumed to myself that I needed to move up north. But I hate that area. But East-Central, where I've been for a while, is also getting insanely gentrified, and I'll be goddamned if I pay $915 for a 400-sq-ft apartment! This isn't fucking Manhattan, nowhere even CLOSE. So the upcoming apartment search is going to be something.
And the new "Rapid" bus route that I touted a few days ago: It's ridiculous. Fewer stops, yes, but ultimately nearly double the time of what it once took me to get to work up north. The buses troll along at about 20 miles per hour (on roads marked either 35 or 45 mph) just to keep on schedule. There are vast spaces in front of the bus, and cars, annoyed, zipping in front. These buses are not moving along with the natural flow of traffic. They're as bad as the #3, with those writhing masses of humanity (which nonetheless get places quicker).
I get it. I need a car. Over the past 4 years, I have tried every aspect of Austin public transportation and my choices to work are now narrowed down to: (1) The #3 bus with its loud, stinky, obnoxious creeps, or (2) the new Rapid, half-empty but double the transit time. I despise and reject both annoying options. Up 'til now, carless, I haven't had a choice. But now going forward, I DO have a choice since I can now afford to buy a car. I don't particularly like driving, but I'll be damned if I have to put up with Austin's shitty bus system, and/or the shitty people on it, any longer.