Since 1995, I have been connected on the Internet. I had it at home, I found it on the road and I had it at work. Email, websites and most recently blogging and social networking have always been only a few clicks away.
Today, however, I find myself in a living situation where I don't have access to the Internet. So I have to hunt down free wifi locations.
When I first came back to Cleveland in March of 2010, the only place I could connect was at my sister's house, a block away. My sister, though, is not always available.
My health was deteriorating and I was living an adversely sedentary lifestyle, spending hour upon hour in a La-Z-Boy chair, watching television and wondering what I was going to do next.
In early July, I decided I had to do something. I could not let my body become a useless glob of flesh - so I launched an exercise program. Part of the program was to walk to a coffee shop with free wifi about 10 minutes away from where I was living. For a couple weeks, I walked up to the coffee shop to get my fix of Internet time.
Over the last month, my scope of free wifi locations has expanded. The free Internet hookups are where I spend the majority of my time.
Lake Shore Coffee House - In Euclid on Lake Shore Blvd. just west of E. 222nd St. on the south side of the street. It's a shabby place, but I can order espresso and they know what I'm asking for. Hard metal chairs with thinly padded seats limit the amount of time my ass can withstand the surfing.
Dunkin Donuts - In Euclid on Lake Shore Blvd. at E. 222nd St. When my body won't hook up with the Sandman and I'm up all night, I can roll into the DD at 5 AM. The seats are comfortable, but there is no power supply anywhere in the restaurant. Ninety minutes after arriving, I have to make a move to another location - usually the Lake Shore Coffee House, which opens at 6:30 AM.
McDonald's - In Euclid on Euclid Ave. at E. 222nd St. I'm lovin' it. McD stays open until 11 PM, but it's also plagued by the lack of any power receptacles. The Dollar Menu has come in handy more than once.
Arabica Coffee Shop - The Cadillac of coffee shops. On the border of Cleveland and Euclid, located on E. 185th St. and LaSalle Ave. Arabica is a true coffee shop, featuring stylish interior decoration, soothing music, a wide selection of leather couches and chairs, reasonably comfortable seating at high-top tables - and plenty of power outlets and power strips. Plus, the cost of a double espresso over ice is the lowest of the three coffee venues - $1.65. This could be my new home from 6 AM to 6 PM most days of the week.
Being connected is critical for my psyche. No one understands it, but I am addicted to all things Internet. I'm either fiddling on Facebook, tweeting on Twitter, banging out blog posts, publishing articles or tweaking my website.
When I'm away from the remote Internet connections, I usually have my word processor open and I'm working on the next article. Sooner or later, all of this writing is going to pay off... at least that is the goal.