The Internet owns me

While I try to stick to a schedule, I also like the flexibility that unemployment allows. This week I’ve taken my act on the road (can’t you tell?), to MD, to visit with people I don’t get to see enough of.

My trips to the area generally correspond with major holidays, since that’s when my wife and I have time off and the family gathers. These trips are usually a two-day whirlwind of big meals with various family members. Fun for sure, but I rarely get to see my friends from the area. This year, being sans job, I’m spending the week ahead of our holiday trip visiting with them. Unemployment does have its perks.

During the day, these friends have jobs (damn them all). So life – transplanted to my mom’s house – goes on for me as usual. And, of course, the Internet problems followed me here, to make sure I don’t start thinking that maybe, just maybe, online access can be problem-free. Don’t worry Internet, I’m still your bitch. But you’re killing me!

My mom’s computer seems to be polluted with something and anyway it might be from the first generation after they stopped using punch cards. When the Internet is “working” (which it no longer seems to be) I can practically hear the processor thinking about what [ENTER] means. Maybe I’m spoiled, but that’s not good enough.

I would transfer the Ethernet cable to my laptop, but the office is so messy that I’m scared to. Something large would fall over in the process, trapping me underneath her desk. Then, to save my life, I’d have to gnaw through one of my limbs. Such an episode would surely get me on CNN and the Channel 4 News with Jim Vance and maybe The View, but where would I be after the media blitz? I’ll tell you… unemployed and missing a limb.

So I tried to steal one of her neighbors’ wireless connections. Six are within range and five of them require passwords (none of which are “password,” damn). The open connection comes in at one bar – two when you’re not online and zero when you’re doing something important.

The next stop was a Caribou Coffee in a local shopping center. I’d camped out there before with a tasty beverage and gotten my fill of the free wireless. The place was comfortable and the one-hour wireless limit was easy enough to get around. It was even quiet. Evidently too quiet, as it’s now being turned into a Dunkin’ Donuts.

If only Starbucks’s wireless wasn’t tied to AT&T, I’d go there. Alas, the man is always trying to keep me down.

I continued on to the library, where I figured wireless would abound. And sure enough, I was right. I got a spot with an outlet and proceeded to work. The only problem with the library (aside from the weirdness of using your laptop in the same spot you did book reports 25 years ago) is you have to take your valuables with you to the bathroom. Losing your spot trumps losing your computer. The better option is to not drink any liquids before going and then hold it in should the urge present itself. Yesterday the Internet gods were smiling, and things worked out for me.

So today I tried my luck again, earlier in the day, and failed. People studying took all the cubes with outlets. Must be finals time at the local junior college, since high school students usually don’t haunt the library at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, and UMD is far away from here. With my battery fading, I did a quick search on “Rockville coffee shop” and retrieved some useful results.

Back at my mom’s, where the electricity flows freely, I recharged my computer, ate lunch (none of that fancy fast-food for the jobless) and typed up this post. Now I’m off to a different Caribou Coffee, which presumably still exists. If you’re reading this, you’ll know I found Internet.

Anybody see that South Park episode in which they head west in search of Internet? This feels a little like that.

Be Sociable, Share!
If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!