I have a real love hate with technology. I’d like to think of myself as a simple man, but in reality I need my internet. Most people have a few hundred channels to keep in touch, a phone line, internet and cell phone pda thingy. I’ve been living the past year or more without cable. A pair of rabbit ears tuned in some damn fine PBS programming on Friday nights. UK games not televised on good old fashioned over the air TV were dialed up on the radio. Yeah, I was proud that we didn’t have cable. Now the internet…that’s a different story. I loved me some broadband internet. It was fast. It was easy. It was the key to figuring out how to build a house on wheels. Then it happened. We canceled our internet service and hit the road. Now it was all about the free wi fi.
We’ve had some ‘fun’ trying to get on the internet during our short time on the road. We’ve Skyped our mothers’ from a poached signal on the street in a little town on the Hudson River. Dealt with health insurance at a co-op parking lot in Brattleboro. Spent hours in a pizza joint in Stowe to plot the weather and our next move. We’ve even crept around towns looking for a signal (some would call that war driving, but it was strictly to check e-mail not to hack a mainframe). Just when I thought it couldn’t get any harder to get on-line, the quest for free internet crossed international lines.
Last night we rolled into my sister’s place in Alexandria. Now my sister and brother in-law are hip and techno-savy enough to have a couple of computers and a wireless router. So jumping on the internet with our fancy Google machine should be simple right? Wrong. Our laptop was picking up the signal but couldn’t connect. Locked out of a wireless signal that was supposed to be open. Agony. Sure we could use one of their computers, but that would defeat the point of hauling around our fancy laptop. After some trial and error and much consternation I gave up. Not my brother in-law. Bound and determined to get us surfing he was chatting with Vankadesh (sp?) in God knows where over a Verizon on-line help desk. Vank asked a few questions, took over their computer remotely (creeeepy), and provided us with some WEP password that got our fancy laptop talking to their router. Or their router talking to our fancy laptop….whatever I’m on-line. Bliss.In a van, parked on a city street, on-line. Life is good.