By Mary Gulino
Area woman Claire Khan was a first-time patron at George’s Café, an unassuming corner spot that specializes in vegan fare and uncomfortable metal seating, when her life changed forever.
She ordered an almond latte with the intention of hanging out for a while, but was quickly thrown through the hoops required to log into George’s wifi.
“The barista said it was for customers only,” Claire commented, now wrapped in a fleece blanket and still recovering from her experience. “She had zero recollection that I’d just bought a six-dollar drink. I was just standing there like a junkie begging for the password.”
But the barista, in the practice of keeping the password under lock and key from grifters, was having none of it. Chugging her latte, Claire began experimenting with intuitive passwords like “coffee123,” “George,” and “caffeine.” She even tried typing in every object she saw in the cafe.
“Once the desperation kicked in, my brain started making connections to things that I hadn’t even picked up on before," Claire said. "Suddenly I was reading into every wall decoration, every pamphlet on the counter, every word in their slogan. I tried the street address, the café’s phone number. I even guessed the barista’s astrological sign based on her shitty personality and started typing out every Libra birthday in order. I was a total conspiracy theorist.”
After innumerable unsuccessful attempts, Claire again confronted the barista, this time waving a five-dollar bill.
“That’s when she started to play ball. She was holding the password hostage.” Claire and the barista negotiated back and forth until finally, Claire won the password in exchange for a payment of one million dollars.
“I’m not used to haggling,” said Claire. “But I think I did pretty well. I’ll be in debt until I die, but I got exactly what I wanted—I could finally check Twitter and confirm that I had no notifications.”
By the time Claire received the wifi password, she had already consumed four lattes, and would soon need the restroom.
“When I finally logged onto the wifi, I cried with joy,” explained Claire with a faraway look. Then, a wave of despair shuddering through her, she continued, “Then I realized I had to pee. I walked to the single stall bathroom in the back, and that’s when I saw it…the key pad on the door. I would need to ask the barista for the code.”
Image: Toronto Star, enhanced by Ladyspike Media