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Metropolis / Passing Through

Connections Are Everything

November 21, 2004|MARK WASSERMAN

Few places in modern life blend the public with the private like an Internet cafe. At your pay-by-minute computer you can zoom down your own personal information superhighway, but the sights, sounds and smells of your fellow cyber-travelers are always there. Late on a recent Friday night at the always-open C&C Internet Cafe in Hollywood, we gave a tap on the shoulder to a few wired souls.

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Iggy Gurevich

Self-Employed Eyeglass Designer

Hollywood

What are you doing here tonight?

Placing bids on EBay. My girlfriend doesn't know how much I buy.

Aren't you afraid she'll read this and find out?

She doesn't speak English.

Who comes to an Internet cafe?

Lonely people. They'd rather spend two or three hours around other people than in isolation at home.

What's the most annoying thing people do in an Internet cafe?

Talk to their computers. And a lot of them don't take showers before they come here.

Strangest thing you've seen here?

Taxi drivers trying to pick up girls.

Is the Internet addictive?

Definitely. After I got divorced, this became my whole social life. I guess your mouth works better when they can't see you.

Do you ever stalk, er, look up people you know on the Internet?

I try, but to get information, you have to spend money. I don't like, or dislike, most people enough.

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Christine Franco

Student

Anaheim Hills

What are you doing here tonight?

Taking a test in electronics. The deadline was 12 a.m., so I just made it.

What would you be doing if you weren't here?

Seeing a show at the Roxy.

What type of people come to an Internet cafe?

Busy working people. Kids who like to play computer games. Some people come just to hang out. It's like Starbucks, with more to offer.

What websites can't you do without?

Yahoo. MSN. I use their search engines. I also use Google for images.

Is the Internet addictive?

I used to hate computers. Now I can't do without them. I do my e-mail, go on message boards, talk to friends. It makes the world a lot smaller.

Do you ever look up people you know on the Internet?

No. I'm only two years out of high school.

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Mark Rhyne

Handyman

Hollywood

What are you doing here tonight?

The computer went down at my house so I came here.

What's the most annoying thing people do in an Internet cafe?

They often don't clean up before they leave. I always wipe everything down first.

What websites can't you do without?

Gay.com. Craigslist. Yahoo.

Is the Internet addictive?

I believe so. Suddenly it's six hours later and you were only going to be online for 30 minutes. I have a friend who has no interaction with people anymore because he can do everything online.

What's the strangest thing you've witnessed here?

Wet transsexuals trying to get out of the rain.

Do you ever look up people you know on the Internet?

I might check a little. Here and there.

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Debbie Jerome

Unemployed Law School Graduate

West Hollywood

What are you doing here tonight?

Looking for jobs online.

What's the most annoying thing people do in an Internet cafe?

Sleep at their computers. And snore. Or talk to themselves out loud.

What websites can't you do without?

LawCrossing.com, my law school site, and Monster. Also my bank account, to see what's going on in there. Which is not much.

What's the strangest thing you've witnessed here?

I met a guy who told me he was a porn star. He was tall with white, scruffy jeans and this dirty, disheveled, 1920s blunt-cut wig that kept moving to one side when he scratched his head.

Is the Internet addictive?

If it wasn't, they wouldn't have 24-hour Internet cafes.

Do you ever look up people you know on the Internet?

Yes, old classmates.

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