The Life and Times of a Laptop Hobo
Laptop Hobo |ˈlapˌtäp |ˈhōˌbō|
noun (pl. laptop hoboes)- a caffeine-addicted, wireless internet poacher who can be observed posting up for hours in coffee shops that offer free internet. Known to get violent over power outlets.
It’s not easy out there. The stigma, the raised eye brow from the barista, the dusty pants from the hysterical search on all fours to find that one precious outlet- the life of a Laptop Hobo is not one of glamor.
To the outsider, it’s nonsensical- we own routers, we pay the Xfinity bill, yet my people can’t stick to our own little caves to do our work. Personally, I tend to get too distracted from the trinkets around my desk…the gum wrapper on the floor… the refrigerator… last night’s leftovers… by the way, when did I get hungry?
You get the point.
I love outsourcing my workspace for the change of scenery. The drone of cafe traffic and close proximity to espresso is a productivity booster and something my apartment can’t offer.
As a veteran to the craft, I have come to realize that if done strategically and respectfully, you can bum around whatever cafe with the “Free WiFi” beacon in the window guilt-free. Follow these steps of LTH Etiquette and you too can suck up all the internet and Norah Jones Pandora stations your local coffee joint has to offer.
1. There is no such thing as free WiFi
But Vanessa, isn’t that the point?? Sort of. Yes, you don’t technically pay for the web, but it was put there for the benefit of their costumers so become one. You don’t have to spend a ton, but depending on how many hours you’re there (3,4,5,6…), you may want to make a second trip to the counter.
2. Timing is Everything
Busy times for cafes ebbs and flows as the day goes on. Crowds come in waves that mimic the business day. Know your neighborhood and what the quieter times may be. After the morning or lunch rush are usually the best times and when the cafe workers wouldn’t mind seeing an extra face around the store. Don’t know what time is good? Ask a barista. They also may tip you off to some prime seats for outlets.
Not to sound obvious but because there are no white table clothes and wait service, this may be easy to forget. Remember- their resources are helping you out, use yours to help them.
4. They offer internet- use it
Let’s pretend that you weren’t already going to spend 75% of your time there tweeting/facebooking/scrolling through memes. Take some time to use Social Media for the cafe’s benefit. Check in, blog, Yelp, write a comment- if you found a space that treats a laptop hobo with the respect we like to think we deserve, spread the word and let the rest of us know!
5. Where everyone knows your name…
Don’t be shy. Get to know the baristas. Just as you, the simple nomad, are human, so are they. Build up a loyalty and not only can you spend the whole day there, you’ll spend it with friends. And if you’re like me and the majority of your college friends GTFO’d outta town (AS WEE GOOO ONNN…), it couldn’t hurt to have a little home away from home as well.
Have any more wisdom to share with a fellow WiFi vagabond? Know any good stories about lap top hobo oppression? I’d love to hear!