Friday, July 14, 2006

Could I borrow a cup of bandwidth?

We arrived home yesterday, after a visit with our brand new grandson to find that our cable was out. A nonfunctioning cable is for us a double whammy - no TV and no internet.

Having spent six hours in the car together over the last two days, we were not interested in getting to know each other better during this unassigned time. We know each other well enough for the time being. We could read, but we usually do that anyway, later.

We were able to entertain ourselves briefly with the satellite radio. Hank watched an old DVD, but I had news to get out and pictures of the most adorable baby ever born to show the world. I was suffering world wide web withdrawal.

We called our neighbor across the street to find out if his cable was out too, so we would know if it was our problem alone. His cable was working fine he said, "but hey, you want to surf? Get on my wireless connection! I know it'll work, because when my connection got hit by lightning, I got onto yours."

Hmm. Imagine that. You can get on your computer in your house and with no wires or anything (hence the name - wireless) you can get service using your neighbor's connection. It worked perfectly. He was out for the evening so I didn't slow him down any. I sent photos of the new baby to everyone I thought might be the least bit interested, and everybody was happy.

Glomming on to someone else's internet connection with the intention of never paying for one yourself is illegal of course. You can be caught and prosecuted for it, and, just like you wouldn't steal a cup of sugar, you wouldn't steal a connection someone else has paid for. But the cable guy, who fixed it the next morning after we decided the cat pulled the connection loose, assured me it was OK this time.

I always knew I liked this neighborhood. From the day we came to town thirty years ago, I thought I wanted to live here. I pictured neighborhood picnics and the kids playing baseball and a glass of wine in the garden with old friends, but who'd have imagined then, that someday we'd move in and be able to share something invisible with our neighbors? That we'd be using each other's electromagnetic waves.

Maybe we should take up a sport.