At home, I have DSL and WiFi, though I’m not going to insist that the always-on access is a good thing. There’s more than a little bit of distraction — if not obsession or addiction — to being connected all the time whether or not I need to be.

In Chicago, access is more of a challenge. I actually have to go looking for a place to get online; it’s not hard to find a place — plenty of cafes have free WiFi, and you can always go to Starbuck’s and pay for T-mobile service. But sometimes — say late on a Saturday night — you don’t necessarily care to go traipsing up to the wholesome hipster dive you’ve discovered in Evanston to buy a mocha to secure the privilege of jumping onto the network. So then what do you do?

I tried to dial up my dad’s ISP last night, but failed because I didn’t have a working access number. None of the neighbors wireless LANs were open — people have started to figure out that they can password-protect their networks. It was too late to go schlepping out, so I just turned off the computer and read for a while (oh, sure: the birth of a healthy trend).

Tonight, not having been online for … nearly 48 hours … I decided to go up to the hipster place. But I wasn’t really anxious to go. So I turned on my laptop and checked for an open network before I turned the ignition. Ah — I found one. Email: check. Posting last night’s blog post: check. Writing this little slice o’ life and sweating because this laptop is hot: check.

Now I’m going to post this, too, then pack up the computer, get out of the car, and enjoy the breeze — another good southwesterly — that’s been building all day. ‘Night, everyone.

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