Five O'Clock Somewhere

Welcome to Five O'Clock Somewhere, where it doesn't matter what time zone you're in; it's five o'clock somewhere. We'll look at rural life, especially as it happens in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, cats, sailing (particularly Etchells racing yachts), and bits of grammar and Victorian poetry.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

On the lawn of the Senior Center

Free wireless Internet is valuable indeed

Over time, I’ve been learning where in Sierra County I can get online. So far, I have found two places of business – one hotel, one restaurant/bar – where customers can get free access. This is fine if one happens to be in need of lodging or food. There’s another hotel/restaurant/bar that has wireless Internet but charges for it, even if one is a customer. That’s cheesy. There’s nothing wrong with requiring someone to be a paying customer to use the Internet; people shouldn’t be allowed to freeload on a connection that the business is paying for. But provided someone is a paying customer, I really don’t think there should be an extra charge for the Internet access – it should simply be one of the enticements to draw someone in to become a paying customer. But then, the people who own this business are also the ones who have just bought another major business at the lake and are now destroying it through inept management.

Anyhow, if one is not in need of lodging (thanks, Dino, the house is great) or food, the place to seek out Internet access is the public sector. Two weeks ago, when I started spending extended periods of time down here, I went in search of taxpayer-funded free Internet. In many small towns, that means the library, so that was the first place I went. The librarian directed me to the Fourth Street Computer Lab, right around the corner in the west end of the Senior Center. (It’s not actually part of the Senior Center and is open to the general public of all ages; it simply occupies a corner of the building.) The lab itself is open only limited hours – noon to 5 p.m. weekdays – but the wireless Internet connection is live 24/7, so I’ve been sitting on the lawn to check email and do my blogging. (When the building is open, there’s also a table in the hallway outside the lab.)

It’s not too bad in the cool of the evening or in the early morning. This is a small town, and so it’s very peaceful to sit out on the lawn, where the worst racket is, believe it or not, the mourning doves, who, contrary to popular belief, aren’t particularly peaceful – they do squabble and carry on a lot. Cars hardly ever pass by. At some point in the evening, I suppose the sprinklers come on – in the desert, it is foolhardy to water during the day, because evaporation will suck up most of the water – but so far, I haven’t had a problem with that. The main annoyance is the bugs; mosquitoes just love my O-negative. And the part of the lawn where I’ve been sitting has a lot of weeds, particularly wild mustard, which seems to attract a lot of small flying insects. I could sit elsewhere, but the signal gets weaker. Oh, the sacrifices I make to satisfy my loyal fans!


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