Whindbagg

Whindbagg
Location
Worcester, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
Birthday
January 23
Title
Agent Provocateur
Company
Yes, have some.
Bio
Distinctly undistinguished. Strictly working-class. Misanthropic humanitarian. Lifelong observer and student of the human condition. Wild man in the closet, nut behind the wheel. Wanna go for a ride?

Whindbagg's Links

Salon.com
JULY 11, 2010 12:51PM

Say Buddy, Can You Spare Some Bandwidth?

Rate: 1 Flag

I never realized how much I relied on the internet until I fell behind on my bills and got the dreaded “could not locate server” message. Because it’s DSL, the phone was kaput-ski also. I have no communication with the outside world whatsoever, except for actual face to face communication. How primitive! Who does that anymore? This is the twenty-first century for gosh sakes. 

Taking a lesson from the “Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures” play book, I shlepped my laptop around the neighborhood until I came in range of an unencrypted WiFi network. In theory it’s obvious, but in execution, the devil, as they say, is in the details. 

I don’t have a car, so parking my butt outside someone’s house madly typing away would be too obvious, prompting him to secure his WiFi. Besides, you never know if the local network admin knows his way around a Louisville Slugger. And in any case, it’s really hard to find an unsecured network. They’re worth their weight in gold. It seems that even elderly Aunt Ethel is hip to the dangers of an un-encrypted WiFi signal. You don’t want to do anything that will alert them to the danger. You can’t tip your hand. I decided to leave the curb-side web surfing for the wee hours when no one will notice. 

For the daytime I tromp through the weeds and chest-high thickets of tick-ville that lies between sub-divisions, feeling like a grunt in ‘Nam, waving my laptop around like a direction-finder, looking for that ever-elusive signal. Finding one, I hunkered down, squatting in the bush. It’s July, the height of summer, and I was sweltering, the sweat dripping on to the keyboard. I could barely make out the screen in the glare of the sun and the sweat stinging my eyes. And the battery lasts only for an hour or so. So for an hour of internet access I sweltered in the sun, got eaten up by mosquitoes, risked infestation by ticks, and got harassed by neighborhood dogs. 

Sure puts things in perspective, huh? 

I can’t wait for the wee hours.

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Comments

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I'm sorry because I truly understand the situation, but at the same time I can't help but laugh hysterically at your description of hunkering down in the weeds trying to "steal" an unsecure connection. I don't know what area you live in, but around here you can get wifi (free!) at Panera Bread, Wendy's, Starbucks, etc. When I was job-hunting on-line I used to take my laptop to Panera Breads, and for the cost of a cup coffee, I could sit in a private, comfortable booth or on the outside patio and hang out for hours on-line without feeling out of place.