The number of local coffee shops that also offer decent food and free internet and who also don’t mind if you hunker down to work for hours is decreasing at an alarming rate. Although my preference is always to patronize local joints, anyone who’s been paying attention knows that I spend more time at Panera than any normal person should. (The legend — at least to me and to one woman who works at the Springfield location is that I even went into labor in the corner table.)
But whether Panera is intentionally trying to weed out the home-office-steaders who overstay their welcome or they just don’t care about their customer base (neither of which gives me a warm fuzzy feeling about them) lately, their internet service has been despicable. I don’t even really blame them. Free wifi is ubiquitous now, especially if you’re a cable subscriber, so it probably doesn’t behoove them to offer up their already-limited table space to people like me who are going to stay all day. It’s not like it used to be. Back when I was a kid, free wifi was so hard to come by…….(You know the rest of this story. Uphill both ways. In the snow.)
I’m only writing this post because The Atlantic promised me I would live a longer, better, healthier life if I complained as often as possible. I’m just doing what I can for my health. (Maybe I have blown the story a little out of proportion. Perhaps.) Anyway, to that end, there’s this diatribe against Panera’s sub-par internet. And just as insurance for a long life, I will also offer up brief commentary about the lattes at the place I ended up (medicinal-tasting; why?), one-hour meters (come on; just an hour?), winter in general (I know I’m not in Boston, but it still sucks here), and cauliflower (ain’t nobody got time for that shit.)
However, in the interest of balance (and although I’m risking my continued good health in doing so) here are some things to celebrate:
- In fact, we are not in Boston. A grand total of Barely Any Snow this winter has been a gift.
- Upon walking in the door of this coffee shop, the coveted table — the big one in the window with ample outlets and a padded bench — was being vacated by a friendly guy who did not shame me for staking my claim while he was still buttoning his pea coat.
- I’ve got a manageable editing side job that will pad my savings account for the next several weeks or so quite nicely.
- I don’t hate my job this term; in fact, I kind of enjoy it and feel optimistic about next term, too.
- Spring is coming. It always does.