Grace Vosen, Contributor
For reasons I won’t go into, I don’t have my own Internet connection. This is usually not a problem, but it has created some awkward situations during this time of a cautious reopening of public spaces. Such was the case the other day when I was invited to attend a short webinar.
The wi-fi signal is strong outside of the Spring Green library, and the weather that morning was clement. So I drove up in my “mobile office”, rolled down the windows, and connected with no problems. (To their credit, the others on the call didn’t find my location the least bit unusual.)
It was downhill from there. I hadn’t charged my laptop before leaving the house, so I had to politely turn off my camera and go sit by an outdoor plug. This lasted exactly two minutes before the group of people a few feet away started talking loudly. They had every right to do so, and I had every right to march back to my car (the battery wasn’t as low as I’d worried).
Next came a train, which rendered me deaf as it moved through town. A few minutes later, a lawn mower started up — seemingly just to annoy me, as the grass seemed well trimmed already. By the end of the talk, I was flushed with shame at being subject to these vagaries of town life. Why couldn’t I just be normal and have my own Internet?
Later that day, I drove down the road to a business that typically has great wi-fi but happened to be having issues at the time. This was a minor annoyance compared to the earlier ones. I accepted my fate and found other work to do, eventually closing my computer so I could enjoy a perfect summer afternoon. But the man sitting one table over was not so calm.
He was polite but perturbed as he asked me what was going on. Written on his face was disbelief at the idea that one could lose access to the Internet for a single minute. He made a comment about this area and what he saw as its backwardness. I knew he wouldn’t understand if I tried to explain why I choose to live here.
I’m happy to say, though, that I now see my morning at the library in a new light. Not only can I adapt to less-than-ideal situations, but I can accept them with no real change to my blood pressure. And I don’t need a computer to forge meaningful connections with the place and the community around me.