Written from actual(ly boring) observations of a couple in Panera at 7:42 p.m.
A man and a woman. Late 50’s, maybe early sixties. Definitely older than my parents.
The two sit down, the man with an iPad, black case, the woman with an iPad, purple case, maybe Kate Spade brand. Synchronized, they crush five or six lemons into their cups of water with a straw. The man empties a packet of sugar into his and taps in on the cup. The man swipes his finger across the screen in front of him dramatically, with force. He is having trouble connecting to the restaurant’s wifi.
WOMAN:–It must be the AT&T. It didn’t say AT&T earlier either. I’m can’t connect–
The man and the woman close their iPads. A waitress sets their food on their table, then walks away.
WOMAN:–Look at this, I asked for dressin’ on the side and this is what they gave me. The woman holds up three small clear condiment containers with lids.
WOMAN: That’s kind of a slap in the face way of doin’ that.”
Periodically, the man glances over his shoulder in my direction. I have my computer open and I am, by any reasonable guess, successfully connected to the internet.
WOMAN: Oh dear, what’s her name–Brittany?
The woman speaks between bites, and sometimes with her mouth full.
WOMAN: I think I’m gonna get ‘er a gift card from bedbath, Bed, Bath, and Beyond.
They eat, I stop listening. After a few moments, they reach for their iPads on the seats next to them.
WOMAN: –You know why I never get chickn’ salad sandwich is that one time at the restaurant where there wasn’t enough mayonaise and it ruined it for the rest of ’em.
WOMAN: So your thing was gettin’ the wifi here?
MAN: No, it wasn’t, then it was. I couldn’t–
She pauses, now swiping her finger across her screen.
WOMAN: Maybe we need a password…
The woman starts looking around. She gets up to read a sign on the wall that says something about the wifi. She reads some numbers on the sign aloud. She still can’t figure out how to connect.
ME: Are you having trouble connecting to the wifi?
WOMAN:Yeah, do you know the password?
ME: Actually, you don’t need a password. It will look like you’re connected, but what you have to do to get it to actually connect is open a browser like Safari or Chrome and it will bring up a screen where you have to agree to the Terms and Conditions. It’s super easy. Once you do that, you will actually be connected.
I am worried I lost her with “browser” and “Terms and Conditions”
WOMAN: Oh. Well, let’s see here…
The woman fiddles around with her iPad, opens safari, and connects.
WOMAN: Wow, look at that!
ME: Did that work?
WOMAN: Sure did. Do you have to do that other places too? We go places all the time an’ I can’t figure out how to make my iPad connect.
ME: I think Starbucks has something similar. It’s worth a shot if it doesn’t ask you for a password and it still won’t connect.
I stop paying attention to the couple at this point until she says to her husband:
WOMAN: Honey, I’m playin’ you. It’s your turn, hurry up and finish your supper.
I hear the familiar twinkle of Words With Friends.