21 Jan (Another) Guilty Admission: I am a thief.
I don’t plan to double up my categories. I came clean with a Guilty Admission just last night. And I had a different post planned for today. But alas, I’m so guilt ridden, I must confess and move on with my life.
I’m a thief. There, I said it.
For the past month, I’ve been stealing internet access at my new office.
I’m generally an honest person. Really, I am. Aside from a brief career as a shoplifter in my bad-ass teenage years, I generally toe the line. I don’t even indulge in minor thievery.
Except for one incident in first grade, I’ve never been one to steal office supplies. (Unless they were Uniball pens. Or reporter’s notebooks with the white cover. Or that creamy brown scratch paper you used to get for math to work out your problems… Or the black and white composition books…)
Okay, so I’ve always helped myself to office supplies.
But usually, I’m an honest woman.
So why do I feel like it’s not really stealing when it’s the Internets?
As we all know, dear readers, I was blessed to move into my very own office this year. (I would insert a hyperlink here to lead you to my story on moving into my new office. But every time I insert a link, it takes you away from the page you’re on. And then you have to use the Back button to get back here. And isn’t that a pain? So I’m not messing with links until I figure that out.)
So, I move in to my new office. Yay! And my rent is only $ABC per month. Whoo-Hoo! But suddenly, I’m faced with another bill I didn’t think about: phone and internet access.
I figured I’d use my cell phone since phone interviews are becoming more and more rare these days. (I’m ashamed to say that a lot of my quick interviews are being done via email these days. Is that bad?)
The day I hauled my desktop, printer and all the accessories from home to the office was the day I really felt like I was official. I was hooking everything up and thinking about if I should call Comcast or Verizon about getting the internets.
But then, something interesting happened when I booted up my computer.
I saw my favorite symbol, the one that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
It was the tiny curves of my Airport scanner letting me know that somehow, I had full Internet access and a strong signal. I typed up Google in my search engine and there it was—lightening fast and ready to…search!
But how? There was nothing but loose wires and holes where wires used to be in my tiny office. I clicked on the Airport icon for details. Turns out that my next door neighbor, Alberto, who also happens to manage the building, didn’t have a password connected to his Internet hook-up.
It was just out there. Free. Mine for the taking. Right?
Well. Have I mentioned that my office, lovely though it may be, is FREEZING? There is a radiator. But it’s never even the slightest bit warm. And there is a tiny sliver of space at the top of my window that lets in a wicked breeze. I bought a space heater from Home Depot and I’m still always cold, typing posts for this here blog in fingerless gloves and oversized sweats. It’s Alberto’s fault that I’m a fashion victim. (Again, I’d like to link here to my story on being a fashion reject. But I won’t. Feel free to look for it. It was pretty good.)
That’s how it began. I tried to justify stealing Alberto’s Internet juices by blaming him for not supplying me with heat. No heat for me? Fine! I’ll just steal your Internets! Take that!
It was supposed to be just for a day or two. Until I got my hook up from Comcast or Verizon.
And then I called both companies and got a rude awakening.
This joint is an office. Not a home. Which means I have to get a business plan. Not a residential plan. When I heard the rates, even for a one-woman business, I wanted to cry.
“But Verizon lady,” I said. “It’s just me in here! I’m no real company!”
“So this company that leased the office, Wisdombody, Inc. It doesn’t have a Tax-Id number?”
“Well. Yes. It does.”
“And are you the President of this company?”
“Yeah. But I only gave myself that title cause it sounded cute. I’m the only employee.”
“So it’s a business.”
“Yes. It’s a business.”
“The business rate for phone and Internet is XYZ.”
“But that’s half the rent for my office!”
“Would you like to order service ma’am?”
“No. I would not,” I said, hanging up the phone in a huff.
And then I got busy. I started blogging. I wrote a story. Got edits back on another story. Got sick with some crazy stomach flu. Got sick again. And I forgot all about my Internet needs.
And yes, I’ll admit it. Alberto made it easy. Cause every morning, when I came to work and turned on my computer, I saw that icon, perfectly curved and strong, telling me…
Use me. I’m fast. I can search for anything. I am the Internets!
And so I did. A day turned into a week. A week turned into a month. A month turned into Monday.
Monday, I went to work. (Yeah. I know, it was a holiday. But my last name is King. Which means I can decide for myself how to celebrate the holiday named after me. And I decided to celebrate and call my back-up sitter since TheOtherGirl’s school was closed and take my butt to work.)
I was feeling a bit under the weather. But I had a story due that I had to get done. And plus, I love going to my office, sick or not. It’s my favorite place in the whole wide world right now.
I usually stick my head in Alberto’s office and say what’s up when I come in. But his office was dark. So I went straight to my door instead. As soon as I walked into my office, I noticed something very different.
It was warm! Really warm! Like bordering on hot! The silver radiator behind my desk was sizzling in that comforting way I remember from my parent’s house when I was a little girl. And the top part of the window was fixed. No more draft! Yay!
I took the space heater off my desk and stowed it in my file cabinet. Stripped down to my tee shirt and even took off my beloved hat. I clapped my hands together and did a little jig.
(See, when you have your own office, you can do things like that. Dance a little jig and no one can see you. Now, I was known to do things like this when I worked from home too. But I always felt silly. And then there was the time the FedEx guy came up on the porch while I was doing my patented I-just-got-a-good-assignment dance. And he looked at me strangely. That doesn’t happen in my new office.)
So I did my jig. And then sat down and booted up my computer.
And there was nothing. No icon. No curves. No reach. No power. Just the word LINKSYS. And a tiny little icon of a padlock next to it. I was locked out. No password. No internets.
And I had a ton of research to do for my story that was due 24 hours later.
No one’s fault but my own. I thought of going to Starbucks for the day. But no, I could not pay rent in an office and still end up working out of Starbucks.
I went to Radio Shack and bought a USB wireless Internet thingie. Looks like this:
Sixty frigging bucks a month for unlimited service.
But it had to be done. Obviously, Alberto had figured me out and shut me down. I needed to have control of my own Internets and I knew I had to get caught eventually.
When I got back to the office, Alberto was there.
“Everything okay?” he asked.
“Couldn’t be better,” I said.
I installed my USB internets. Within minutes, I was online. Whoo-hoo!
My service is now dial-up slow. Not lightening fast like Alberto’s LINKSYS.
And this makes me sad. But it’s my own fault. I am being punished for being a thief. I stole his Internets for a full month.
I actually feel guilty that I poached his service for as long as I did. How bad was that? Am I the only who has ever done it?
For the record, I’ve never installed a password on my own Internet service at home. Here’s what it looks like if you drive down my street looking for Internet access:
Free for one and for all!
I know there are probably a whole host of reasons why I shouldn’t do this. But honestly, I’ve just been too lazy to call the cable company and set up a password.
Before I bought a house, I lived in an apartment, right above my friend Paul. And we both made sure to keep our Internet connections open. If he ever had a glitch with his Internets, he knew he could use mine. And vice versa. I had the nerve to get an attitude if his joint wasn’t working. I’d call him up and say, yo, reset your server. Damn. I’m trying to do some research up here!
But there’s no one in my neighborhood I should be sharing my Internets with. And they all very wisely have their connection blocked against thieves like me.
I ask you Dear Readers, how bad a person am I? How does Internet-connection-thievery measure up in the world of sin? It’s not on the 10 Commandments. Oh. Yeah. It is. Thou Shall Not Steal. But does the Internet—all invisible and stuff—really count? It’s like stealing air. Isn’t it?
I need to hear from you on a few things.
1. How bad was it that I stole Internet from my neighbor for a month?
2. Are there any other options for Internet access that won’t cost me a zillion dollars a month or be slow and whack like this dumb AT&T thing?
3. Have you ever poached someone’s Internet access? Under what circumstances? And did you at least feel bad about it?
Love to hear from you…