Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

free wifi isn't free

this café i hit up regular-like for caffeine and wifi does not have a password to access their wifi at the moment. thus, it is interesting to walk up from the back of the parking lot and see who is shamelessly stealing the wifi whilst eating in the car. taxi cabs are common offenders. so are professionally-dressed people that look like they got two bucks to spare for a supremely large cup of tea.

the other day, I saw a woman eating a muffin from starbucks and sitting in her car to steal the wifi.

the staff joke about it. sometimes, after they close at night, and all the taxi cabs and automobiles are shamelessly lined up, they flip the switch.

all at once, a dozen men and women shake their laptops and bang them like something’s wrong.

free wifi isn’t actually free.

go inside and pay for your damn cup of coffee. a small coffee – last i checked – was something like a buck sixty. Also, don’t forget to make eye contact with people. Don’t just glare into your computer screen and never talk to anyone.

i see people in chat rooms – i’m in a forum or two – and we’re all typing away, communicating with people that aren’t in the room.

there’s a social cost to the free wifi, too. we’re in this café and we’re jammed in like sardines, huddled over computer screens and we might as well be in cubicles because we’re alone with the glow of our monitors in a crowded room. We make our own little cubicle walls with empty cups, books, and the way we put our elbows around our laptop so no one can read over our shoulder when we’re telling someone how much we miss seeing them, looking in their eyes.

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