I don’t have internet access in my apartment, and I can’t figure out how to steal wireless from my neighbors, so in order to go online I have to drag my laptop to a café. For example right now I’m at a café. Here there are other people with their own little laptops, and together we form a community of friends.
When a laptop user stands up to use the bathroom, it is customary for him or her to ask a complete stranger to watch over their computer, thereby protecting it from other complete strangers. There could only be you and one other person in the entire café and that person would still feel compelled to ask you, “Hey, could you watch my stuff for a minute? I wouldn’t want some jackass like you to come along and take it.” This is like being in the midst of a pack of coyotes and arbitrarily going up to one coyote and saying, “Hey, coyote, will you protect me for a second? There are some dangerous coyotes around here. Not you, though, you’re a cute little coyote. I noticed that right when I entered this prairie. Actually, that’s why I’m really talking to you. I’m too shy to initiate conversation, so by soliciting your protection maybe that will open up a dialogue between us and we could make some small talk and agree to go out for dinner sometime.” That’s the real motive behind the whole “will you watch my laptop?” ruse, and I see right through it. When somebody asks me to watch their laptop, I chuckle a little bit and say, “You’re so timid. Of course I’ll go to dinner with you sometime.” But then when they go to the bathroom I steal their laptop and run full-speed out of the café.