It is a quarter to midnight on a Wednesday night at the end of November. I’m sitting in my car, parked outside a strip mall on McKnight Road, a shopping district in the suburbs north of Pittsburgh.
I’m parked here because there’s a Starbucks here. The Starbucks is closed, but that’s fine with me because their wi-fi connection is still on, and I can get a signal even outside.
There’s also a Bruegger’s Bagels. They have free wi-fi, but I didn’t notice they were here until after I parked. They should make their signs brighter — more noticeable.
I had a night meeting in Oakland, and I’d forgotten to write my daily post beforehand. When I realized that I was going to miss my daily blogging, I tried to think of ways to get online:
- Go back in my friends’ house and ask if they could stay awake just a little longer, so I could write a blog post!
- Drive downtown and struggle with the free Pittsburgh wi-fi, and hope I figured it out before midnight!
- Call one of my stalwarts who live in the North Hills, wake them, and ask if they’d mind if I dropped by for just a few minutes to get online!
Naturally none of those would do.
Then I realized I could find a strip mall, find a Panera or a Starbucks/T-Mobile or some such, and be on the internet in moments. Pretty much any McDonald’s would help me out even. And I could continue to listen to my iPod over the car stereo while i wrote.
So here I sit, bathed in the glow of my laptop screen, scrunched behind the steering wheel of my rapidly chilling car outside an international mega-chain, typing away, connected to the world.
We live in amazing times.
Ooh, security guard coming. Gotta go!
Funny, because I can relate — Panera’s wi-fi has saved my butt more than once.
woo hoo, Cindy! So resourceful! In case you were wondering, treadmill kilt man was in full force today. His kilt is semi-pleated and it looks like a wool blend. Chafing may be an issue, so if he’s going to bring the man running kilt to cutting edge, he’s going to need to reengineer a bit. Also, needs to get actual running shoes b/c I noticed he was wearing Borns (you know, with the null set O)…not exactly with aerodynamics in mind…happy writing!
Uncle Crappy: I’m glad I’m not alone. I panicked a little every time headlights swept across my car — and as I was on a major road, that happened a lot. But perhaps there’s someone using the wi-fi outside global coffee chains every night, all over the country.
Miko: I wrote Kilt Man into the book last night! He’s now a major character. I’m not sure who he is, other than being Kilt Man, but the points about chafing and Borns will add to the character. Thanks for the continued inspiration!
This is the most clever thing I’ve ever read. Mad, mad props. I would’ve never thought of that.
You were in Woy’s neighborhood. I would have just woken his arse up.
I know the Starbucks you speak of. Surprised it’s not 24×7 with the college kids and young professionals around there.
I’ve used Panera before as a base of operations…the four+ hours I was there really helped stretch the value of that small coffee I got!
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