Tales from the Café: Page Cannot Load

A/N: Incredibly fitting for the moment, as the past few days before I write this have been rife with Internet problems at home…

Date: Wednesday, 12:38 pm

The lunch rush would be here any minute, and all I had to do was make sure my best smile was on my face and we’d be fine. Our morning manager, a well-meaning but very intense woman named Elaine, came over to me, eyeing the occupied tables.

“The man at 34 has been there since nine this morning,” she muttered to me, back to the counter.

I glanced up, the edges of a smile poking at my lips. I’d seen him come in; he’d walked in the door not long after me. It wasn’t unusual to get business people come in and use our wifi. I imagined it was a nice getaway from the office. The only trouble was when the lunch rush came and we had a whole bunch of tables taken up by people who were working but not buying. It was Elaine’s personal vendetta. “Yeah, I see him. I think he ordered lunch a bit ago.”

“He’s not the only one.” She didn’t care. “One of these days, I’m just going to turn off the wifi. We need those tables.”

I kept biting back the smile, tapping the computer screen to see what time it was. “Won’t need to, Elaine. It cuts out all the time on its own.” And sure enough, as Elaine walked away, a customer came up with a grumpy expression on their face. “Can I help you?”

“Your wifi just kicked a couple of us off. Do you know what happened?”

I pursed my lips, trying to look sympathetic. “We’ve been have trouble with it off and on for a while now. I know our manager has a call in to our Internet provider, but I’m not sure when they’re coming in. I can have someone restart the router, if you’d like.”

The man crossed his arms. “Yeah, if you could. I mean, it was working fine a minute ago, but now it’s just off.”

“I’ll see what I can do, sir.” He nodded and walked off, and I went to find Elaine again. To be fair, everything I’d said was true. Our general manager and the ISP had been arguing with each other for as long as I could remember, and last I heard, someone was supposed to be coming in to fix the problem. I just couldn’t recall if that had happened already, or if it was supposed to be fixed by now. Occasionally the problem was that our owner was hesitating on some expense, but I didn’t know what the situation was. “Hey Elaine?”


“Wifi’s out, I guess. Just like I said earlier, huh? Can we power cycle the modem?”

She sighed. “Sure, but I don’t think it’s going to do anything.”

“Neither do I, but may as well try.” I went back toward the coffee urns, grabbing a bar towel to wipe them down with. It was astounding how dirty these things got just from sitting here.

A moment later, a woman came up to the counter. “Excuse me.”

I looked over. “Yes, ma’am?”

“I was just online and your wifi kicked me off.”

Yet again, I bit back a smile. “Yeah, we had another customer come up and say that they’d been having trouble connecting, so my manager is resetting the modem. It should be back up in a couple of minutes.” At least I hoped it would be. Our registers used the Internet line to run credit cards, and the last thing this day needed was for those to go down. I’d had that happen in the middle of lunch before. It wasn’t pretty.

“Oh, okay. So it should be coming back.”

“Yes, ma’am.” She thanked me and headed back to her table, and I walked out into the café proper to pick up some dishes. As I circled around looking for one or two more to carry at the same time, a third person flagged me down. “Yes?”

“Which wifi network am I supposed to connect to? I saw one just labeled Mocha Time, but it just vanished.”

Ah, it’s one of those days. “Yes sir, we’re resetting our modem…”


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