If you know me in real life, you'll know that my computers tend to go where I do. 8 years ago when my wife and I went away to the Cayman Islands I had my laptop, and would sneak out to sit by the pool and hack code while the sun came up. Even when we had our first child and she was still in the pack-n-play portable crib we'd cart with us on vacation, I'd still manage to sit out on the balcony while wife and baby slept and get in some Zen time. Bliss.
As the kids have gotten older it's become less likely that I'll get such time. Last time I tried it, in fact, they ganged up on me and told me that - I am not kidding - my hitting the space bar was keeping everybody awake. :-/
So when we ran out this Thursday for a quick night away at a local hotel/waterpark, I decided not to take my computer. After all I've got an iPhone so I check email regularly (not to mention Twitter), and I've just gotten a new Kindle for Christmas, so if I do get any downtime I can enjoy a nice book.
Off we go and enjoy a nice day at the water park, dinner, the whole works. It's getting on 8pm or so, the kids have watched Charlie Brown's Happy New Year, and the hotel room is dark and quiet. I bring up Twitter, and discover a message from Cass that "I think Stanley Wells needs to hear about your book!" Written, I notice, at 10am that morning.
It seems that Professor Wells has written a post on the subject of what Shakespeare quotes would be appropriate to use at a wedding, because his daughter's been invited to do a reading.
You know, like, the exact same topic I spent half of last year compiling into a book? And me without my computer.
(Remember those discussions we had a few weeks back about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for Shakespeare? If an authority on your topic writes on a subject where you've got value to add, you darned sure want to do whatever you can to get associated with that post. Preferably with a link, such as in the comments section. And I mean come on, that's not even spam, that's my opportunity to answer his thinking-aloud query on the topic!)
I try desperately to craft a comment using the browser on my iPhone, but it fails miserably. So miserably, in fact, that I end up running out of battery. I do manage to send an "Argh!" back to Cass, and send a direct note to Stanley, but am unable to get a comment posted on the blog. I give up.
Battery dead on the iPhone now, I turn to my Kindle. Kindle has a very rudimentary browser, with which I'm able to bring up my email. What's waiting for me? A note from Bardfilm saying "Hey, did you see Stanley's post? I'm travelling but I'll try to hit the comments when I get back." I try writing him back as well to say "I'm out of commission", but am unable to make it happen.
The next morning I explain the situation to my wife, who suggests I try to hotel's business center, something I had not considered. Of course it was approaching 9pm when the problem started and it's about 6am now so I'm not sure whether it would have been open either time. But the urgency of the matter has subsided, I'm not as freaked, and I pass. Although I do tell her that the computer's coming with me every time we travel from now on :).
When I get back to civilization (and by that I of course mean, my computers :)) I go online to see that Bardfilm has gotten a comment on the post - thank you! I put up a comment of my own, but I notice that it's not made it through the moderators so perhaps they felt it was too self-promotional, which is unfortunate since that's really the only medium I have for holding a discussion with the posts's author, but hey, every site has their own rules.
As I tell people that story, not only has every person said "Did you try the hotel's business center?" but several have said "Did you just drive home?" We were, at most, 30-45 minutes from home. Good point. Well, given that the moderator never actually posted my comment I guess that in hindsight I didn't miss much opportunity after all :). Had this been something more live/real-time, like "They're doing a live webcast about Shakespeare use in weddings!" then yeah, perhaps a mad scramble for online access by any means necessary would have been in order. In this particular instance, it just makes for a funny story. :)
Oh, and if you happen to be listening, Professor Wells? I'll happily send you a free copy of my book if you'd like. I just need to know where to send it!