Here in the tiny town of Vardaman, everything moves slowly. Especially the Internet at the local high school.
The trouble begins early each morning. Teachers sweet-talk their computers while trying to load the school’s online attendance system. A few get lucky. The rest shake their heads, write the names of absent children on a sheet of paper, and send a student to the main office.
Today, school secretary Lisa Sutherland is given 15 names to enter. Each click of her mouse is followed by an excruciating delay. The system times out. Sutherland grits her teeth and starts over. Nearly half an hour after it begins, a process that should take seconds is finally complete.