Dear Fellow Squatter:
Times are tough in Squattistan, and growing tougher. Back in the Golden Age, a card-carrying member of the Overhead-Free Clan could saunter into any coffee shop and enjoy free, robust, reliable WiFi service. No longer, Squatter. They are attempting to banish us.
The first warning bell sounded at the Linden Hills Dunn Bros one month ago. To my surprise, I spied an abandoned corner table near the One True Thing ... not natural light, of course. I speak of Proximate Electricity. And not just one outlet. Two units, each with four outlets! (In my naivete, I rejoiced. In retrospect, I should have smelled Denmark's rottenness...)
In accordance with the Squatter Rules of Engagement, I planted my flag (computer case) on the table PRIOR to purchasing my first beverage. Away, interlopers! Iced Americano in hand, I returned to my temporary homestead, released the MacBook Pro, connected the two ends of the white Apple power cord and waited for the little dot on the square magnetic computer connection to turn green. My friend, it did not light.
I explored another plug. Nothing. I moved to the other outlet. Nada. A malfunctioning corner, clearly. I spied a less-desirable table near the play area for kids. Careful not to lose my home, I maintained my empty case at the corner table and carted the MacBook yonder. Another glorious four-piece of pure voltage awaited. I engaged. But no green. Different plug, same non-result.
I stepped to the counter to initiate Barista Diplomacy. The ambassador lifted a crooked finger and pointed to a far wall. "The laptop crowd is allowed to sit along that perimeter only. All the other outlets have been turned off in fairness to our other patrons." And with that, my friend, a shiver shivered down my shivery spine. "They're onto us," I thought. "The end is nigh."
Since that fateful moment, the pieces of Grand Conspiracy continue to merge:
- The Caribou on Grand and Snelling requires Squatters to purchase a libation for every hour of WiFi use.
- All other Caribous allow Squatters to receive, but not send, email (Sisyphusian problem-solving at its cruel finest, comrade).
- WiFi service at the Dunn Brothers at Lyndale and Franklin has always been spotty at best. But now, management has lost all urgency in remedying the matter. (A world without compassion, my MacBook Brother.)
- When last I darkened the door of the Longfellow Grill Dunn Brothers, I received a WiFi airport signal, but no actual service. (Cruel and unusual, my Squatter Sister.)
We are an accursed race, my friend. The infidels are banishing us to the ghettos. The Caffeine Oligarchs are consolidating their power. 'Tis time to reconstitute and seek amnesty in a more promised land.
Either that, or work from home.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Dear Fellow Squatter:
Posted by Marc Conklin at 8:18 AM