what the fuck’s the internet?

When Gretchen and I moved into our apartment, we bought very few new things because we had so many yardsaled, goodwilled, and hand-me-down housewares that we didn’t need much. Lamar and Amy let us borrow an extra TV they had and weren’t using, along with Amy’s old modem from before they moved in together. We bought the cheapest wireless router they had at Target, and when we realized that our internet connection sucked, we mostly just ignored it and complained but didn’t do anything to fix it.

Finally, after over a year of being disconnected from Netflix and getting that stupid “page cannot be displayed” error, we had Lamar come over and tinker with our modem and router, because he’s a dude and therefore knows more about electronics than we do.

He laid on the floor in the corner of our apartment and fiddled with the router, modem, and my laptop’s wireless internet settings for a good thirty minutes before coming to the conclusion that he didn’t know what was wrong with the connection. “Maybe it’s the modem…but it could be the router.” Very conclusive.

He decided we should do some follow-up testing involving an ethernet cable, which he would have to loan us, because we’re chicks and we don’t have shit like spare ethernet cables. That never happened, because if there’s one unifying similarity that Gretchen, Lamar, and I share, it’s laziness, and Gretchen and I have come to a mutual agreement that it’s a lot easier to complain about the bad connection than it is to actually do something about it. Any time I thought about the (minimal) time and effort required to set my mind to resolving our wonky internet connection, I immediately felt guilty for all the hours I waste away staring into the black hole of Facebook or Googling Macaulay Culkin. I’d think of how I really need to go read a book or do the dishes or go outdoors or volunteer or something, and then I’d stay parked on my ass instead and continue clicking the refresh button fifty times in a row, trying in vain to get Twitter to load.

Our connection seems to have stabilized a little bit recently — at least we stopped getting error messages that forced us to reset our Wii’s connection to the internet, which is a real pain in the ass when you really need to watch 30 Rock. It still takes videos forever to load, and I randomly and inexplicably get notifications on my laptop that our Belkin router is not connected, even when the internet seems to be working fine.

In the midst of Lamar’s tinkering, he demanded that we name our wireless connection, since it still sported the default “Belkin_34879.”

“Why do we need to name the router? Does it really make a difference?” I asked, focused more on the joint going around than on solving the internet connection issues, as per the usual.

“You need a code name,” he insisted, somehow managing to make a thing as utterly normal as naming a wireless router seem weird.

“A code name…?” I asked, thinking hard.

“Cacao,” Gretchen said solemnly.

Lamar and I both turned to look at her, the recognition wheels clanking sluggishly against the cogs in our cloudy short-term memories.

“Like in Portlandia! The code word!” she said, and thus our router was christened.

So now whenever my wireless connection pops up to tell me that “ca-cao is not connected,” I’m less annoyed and more unsettled thinking about Carrie Brownstein with a mustache.

I think it’s the armpit hair that really gets me.


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