When I am in public places, I activate the wireless network detector on my mobile phone. I do not intend surfing the internet; I do it to see the name of the surrounding Wi-Fi networks. Let me explain it better:
Wireless networks are broadband signals channelled through wireless routers. Owners of broadband generally give their broadband a name to distinguish it from a neighbour’s. I take interest in the names people give their broadband. Sometimes, during my bus journey home I activate the wireless network detector on my mobile. The display on my phone updates itself every few seconds to include wireless networks it finds in the surrounding areas of the bus route. One evening, while passing Parnell Square, names of surrounding wireless networks included “Bob’s Wireless”, “Humdrum”, “Jen Jen” and “Medical”. These names fascinated me; my imagination ran riot.
I pictured an overweight Bob sitting in a grubby flat of a dilapidated Georgian building, overlooking Parnell Square. In the flickering light of a television, Bob sat in a stained wife-beater, holding a can of Dutch Gold in his left hand and television remote in his right. I imagined Bob’s neighbour Jen Jen to be Chinese. Jen Jen is incredibly stylish and spends most of her minimum wage earnings purchasing high-end labels on EBay. The network entitled “Humdrum” belongs to some guy with a quirky personality. He foresaw the day when a stranger like me might pass with his wireless detection activated and come upon his Wi-Fi connection “Humdrum”. This man knew “Humdrum” would spark a riotous flood of imagination in my head. The same man also predicted that my discovery of neighbouring Wi-Fi network “Medical” would prompt me to imagine the many stories of a medical centre near Parnell Square.
This newly formed habit is clearly some form of escapism – a return flight of imagination. This evening was the first time I gave this behaviour any consideration; so much so, I now give it the status of “habit”. I never considered the amount of information – or lack of – that could be gleaned from a simple review of Wi-Fi networks. I have no desire to meet Bob or Jen Jen, but it was fun to imagine them for the solitary moment I did.
The most frequent occasions I practice this habit is when I am alone. For instance, this evening, while Best Friend visited the bathroom of the new M&S cafe, I perused the selection of networks on offer. I thought it funny how all four wireless networks listed were Italian words.
Would you find such a thing interesting? Best Friend did not seem to when I told him on his return.