I arrived in Memphis yesterday at 1:30 pm. It took me two, two and half hours to find and inspect four tourist spots — Graceland, the Lorraine Motel (i.e., the site of Martin Luther King‘s murder on April 4, 1968), Beale Street and Sun Records. I left Memphis at 4 pm, driving south on 55. I arrived in Oxford around 5:30 pm and checked into the Oxford Downtown Inn, courtesy of the Oxford Film Festival. And then the wireless issues began.

Forced to file from the lobby of the Oxford Downtown Inn. Taken at 5:40 am this morning.

It’s now just before 6 am and the issues haven’t stopped, and I’ve decided to cut bait as a result. That’s right — I’m outta here, flying back to NYC. Or maybe I’ll drive south a bit and cruise around, find an adventure, something. Any place with decent wifi I call home.

The hotel doesn’t offer wireless in the rooms, providing instead a late-20th-Century ethernet cable connection for internet access. Except the cable is only eight inches long — the only time in my life that I’ve ever seen or heard of a connection cable this short — and the connection it delivers is erratic and/or not strong enough, the result being that transferring jpegs to my server via FTP software stopped working almost immediately. I resorted to my AT&T Air Card, which worked for a while last night but stopped working this morning for some reason. It’s now 5:40 am and my only working connection right now (albeit a “very low” one) is the wireless that the hotel offers in the lobby only.

I can’t do this. I won’t do this. This is not 1997, and if a regional film festival is unable to provide easy, high-speed wifi to its journalist guests then no offense but it just shouldn’t invite them down in the first place. I mean, c’mon.

Bless Oxford, Mississippi in all other respects. It’s a soothing, pleasingly upscale, lively, obviously highly cultured college town with a real-deal 19th Century atmosphere. And the Oxford Film Festival has been, for me, a charmer in every respect except for the ridiculous internet situation. If I can’t post easily and swiftly, there’s really no point in being here.

So I’m packing my bags and heading back to Memphis this morning. I really don’t have time for this foolishness. I’m not there to sip moonshine and read Faulkner — I’m here to work, and it’s just too much work, too frustrating and too inconvenient to accomplish this goal.