Saturday, August 1, 2009
Free Wireless and costly coffee
I’m such a bleeding heart liberal that anytime I see signs shouting, “Free Wireless!” I run inside looking for a petition to sign. Over the years, this has cost me a fortune in unwanted coffee purchases.
Other writers and, invariably, breakfast waitresses look at me like I tell them my head’s a time bomb set to explode when I say no thanks to morning java.
I admit it’s a startling declaration, like an Eskimo saying he dislikes snow.
Everybody drinks coffee, and most of them seem to enjoy it. They say the caffeine gives them a jolt that helps launch them into the day. It’s a jolt they reignite every 30 minutes or so with multiple refills.
I wonder how different my life would be if I self-medicated that way. I’m sure I’d be more alert and that’s a sufficient reason to keep me from ever doing so.
Truly alert people are the cause for much of life’s miseries. They start shooting wars, they cut you off in traffic and shout out the answers to televised “Jeopardy!” questions like they have an actual money stake in the result.
I’m as alert as I ever want to be. I spend most of the day looking like at any second I could fall fast asleep. In fact, I’m sure I could drift off right now for a few quick winks.
But I’m going to fend off the urge to do so because I don’t want to slow the blog’s momentum for any coffee drinkers who might get impatient at the somnambulant siesta.
I wonder if becoming a coffee drinker because it might be a good career move.
I decided to call my home blog, www.EightDaysToAmish.com, shortly after shedding internet access at my shabby little office. I did it to save money and because internet access is readily available in nearby coffee shops and my local library.
The next logical step once you start down that road is cutting cable, electricity, water, etc., and the next thing you know you’re churning your own butter and wearing burlap britches.
(Note: if I were to rename the home blog today I’d call it www.TwoDaysToAmish.com. Things are so tight and bereft of promise that I’ve looked into the legality of trading the kids for cows.)
I’m perfectly content doing on-line work at the local library. But because that government-subsidized outfit is nearing an Amish existence, too, its doors are open as infrequently as a miser’s wallet.
On Fridays the library is down for the day. Its still-functioning wireless reach extends to the parking lot, but I’m reluctant to work on my laptop in my car for hours at a time because the library’s right next door to a busy church playground.
A cop could come by and lurch to the conclusion that something sinister’s afoot, especially if I can’t get him to swallow my story that reading computer pornography next to a church playground involves some farfetched sort of story research (I have trouble believing that one myself).
So that leaves the inviting coffee shops and their “Free Wireless!” signs.
I’m not the kind of mooch who could sit there for hours nursing one mocha frappo whatever. I feel obliged to patronize the joint.
Plus, I’m not going sit there and do like so many other writers and be surreptitious. No, I’ll want everyone to know with whom they’re dealing. That means the purple robe, the extended ebony cigarette holder, the brandy snifter and flamboyant stalking about the bean bins as I grapple about for fancy words like “surreptitious.”
I’m sure word would soon get around that I was the disgraced writer so destitute he couldn’t afford internet access at his pitiful little office.
They’d probably start calling me snide names like “Wire Less” behind my back.
So just to be safe, if you are a fellow writer sitting in some cyber cafe, I ask you to set down your coffee, your cigarette holder, and cinch up your purple bathrobe.
Approach the store manager and ask to start a “Free Wireless!” petition.
She’ll know what you’re talking about.