Dear Yenta, see that he’s gentle . . . .

I introduced my college friend to my cousin.

I understand, through my sources (not yet disclosed on Wikileaks) that they are meeting tonight.

I am like a mother waiting for her daughter to come home from the prom.  Oy, what was I thinking?  They’ll hate each other.  This is not a match.  Worse, they’ll hate me and it will be awkward when they see each other at my wedding.

But who really knows?  They could really groove on each other although, if they listed what they are looking for in a mate, they would not seem suited.  But my high-powered doctor sister married an artist and they are in love, these many years later.  My Jewish brother from New York City married a Southern Baptist from a small town in Texas and they are in love more than 14 years later.  I found my love at Camp Wingate at age 10 (and then we re-met many years later) and we are similar in as many ways as we are different.

I don’t usually make matches (shitachs (with a guttural “ch”) in Yiddish), but this was just staring me in the face.  Maybe only a connection that will lead to introductions that will lead to future romance.  Or tonight’s summer evening could hold romance . . . .

But if I don’t get an email tonight, I am driving back to New York for a full debriefing, and if necessary, interrogation.  Someone ought to be VERY afraid.


Another day, another blogcation opportunity

Our staycation ended today.  We drove out east to the beach.  Lovely house with pool and most all of the amenities.

Not our style, but POB (partner of blogger) pronounced the kitchen “remarkably ungross” and the bathrooms “spotless”.  For those of my college friends reading this, POB said even a certain person who lives in Newburyport (NFOB) would cook in this kitchen without blow-torching it first.  Some of you may feel the need to come out and see the vacation house that even NFOB would like.  We will take pictures of the sinks, oven, refrigerator and toilets so you can wait until the reunion photo collage.

SOS (source of sanity) could barely hold back from jumping into the pool.  The delay of unpacking his bathing suit was almost more than he could bear.  “Can’t I skinny dip?”  (What is with boys and swimming in the nude?)  Pressing back against the tide of the generation of instant gratification, we made sure that he took the time to find his bathing suit.  Parenting is in the details.  Ok, parenting is in the nagging about the details.

The pool has a slide which SOS pronounced “awesome”.  Hours of enjoyment ensued.  (Tomorrow, his cousin and some other of his friends in the area are coming over to play and have dinner.)

Later, we took a walk along the beach.  Just beautiful.

Now, I am pretending to know how to grill.  Take-out anyone?


We are heading out tomorrow for vacation.  So, today, was the last day of staycation.  It was a gorgeous day in New York City today.  After POB (partner of blogger) came back from the gym, I got ready for my run and 2 hours of mindlessness.

As I left POB and SOS (our son, source of sanity), they were fighting over the TV remote control, because POB wanted to watch the rest of Phineas and Ferb (Dr. Doofenshmirtz’s embarrassing high school tape and the importance of the aglet — ok, you had to see it) and SOS wanted to watch something about swamp monsters.  Ah, a typical day in Paradise.

I only run because it is quick and easy (I stop shortly after starting).  And, clearly, I don’t run very far.  And running doesn’t accurately portray that which I do, which is a lazy, and somewhat resentful stumble. To the casual observer, I might be late for an appointment and haplessly jogging, all the while looking over my shoulder to see if a cab were coming.

But my knees and my back hurt, even from this pathetic display at athleticism.  So, a few weeks ago, I went to the Super Runners Shop and bought these crazy slipper-like sneakers that are supposed to make me run toe-heel, toe-heel, toe-heel.  Apparently, heel-toe, heel-toe, heel-toe is bad for aging knees and backs.

So I tried toe-heel and for a while (ok, three minutes) I felt great — I was using my calf muscles and I got into a toe-heel, toe-heel, toe-heel groove.  Actually, I couldn’t figure out about the heel thing.  So I was doing toe toe toe toe toe toe toe.  My ankles hurt and what do you do with your heel?

These shoe-slippers of Mercury (or Hermes, depending on your preferred mythology) were just a waste of money, although my calves have some definition (if you use a magnifying glass).  Ok, so these were for super runners.  I need shoes for stupid runners.

I went back to the shop wearing my fab footwear and asked for something with some cushion and a little less emphasis on what hits the ground first.  If I am running fast, the balls of my feet hit first.  If I am jog-running, who the hell really knows.

So I have new running (ok, schlepping) shoes.  The least offensive color combination was white and hot pink.  And that required me to pay more (of course).  But I figure the pink will be an important feminine counterpoint to my accidentally severe haircut (IFOB (Italian friend of blogger), I will never let you live this down).

(Janet Napolitano (US Secretary of Something), I hope you are reading this.  You need an emergency hair style consult.) 

Then I napped and, since we had a rental car, we were off to the BIG Fairway on 125th Street, where you could spend the gross domestic product of a third world nation on what we term “essentials”.  And we were stocking up for the beach in case supplies were still short in Hurricane affected areas.

Stores that big scare me and I was getting a little unhinged as POB was discussing the pros and cons of a new blend with the coffee guy.  Also, POB is a comparison shopper.  Even in the Cold Room (the room where the temperature is below 40 degrees so that fewer refrigeration units are necessary).  I am in a t-shirt and we are shivering and POB wants to compare the prices of various organic yogurts.  REALLY?  REALLY?  REALLY?  Is this vacation or is this hell?  Would I rather be checking my work email in the warmth than comparing biotic statistics and price of yogurt in a subzero room?  At this point, I am thinking that a run even in my toe toe toe toe toe toe shoes from hell seems like an inviting activity.

I guess the point is (do I ever have a point and does that matter?) that tomorrow we start a vacation.  And we are all really glad about it.

Like a Hurricane

Our newly re-acronymed child, SOS (source of sanity) needs to go back to TLP (the little prince), at least for a little while.

On Saturday night, we hunkered down after checking in on all local relatives who might need help.  TLP wondered why we couldn’t camp out at the beach like his cousin, his aunt and his other grandfather (not my dad).  (In fact, to add insult to injury, we made him come home from visiting them at the beach in anticipation of the hurricane.)

They aren’t camping actually.

In fact, they didn’t intend to “camp”, since they live in a perfectly lovely house in East Hampton.  We tried to explain that Hurricane Irene could cause downed power lines and flooding, which would then lead to “indoor camping” by necessity and not by choice.

TLP thought it would an important manly experience, except he forgot that he is a (little) man who likes his amenities, let alone “essentials” like TV, computer access, running water, flushing toilets, etc.

You get the picture. He knows what he wants until he realizes that it is not at all what he wants.  Until that eureka moment, he has the determination of . . . of . . . well, POB (partner of blogger).  Genes are a boomerang.

It is ok that he is not so self-aware of his lack of earthiness.  He is only 9 years old.

Sunday dragged on and on.  TLP couldn’t really focus on the usual mind-numbing TV because he wanted to go back out to the beach.   The hurricane washed out our week at the beach, at least initially.  When the owners of our rental called to say that the power was out and there was flooding on the property, TLP became inconsolable.  Ok, ok, ok, ok, his entire life up to this point has been a vacation.  It is I, I, I, I, I, I, who needs a vacation. Me, me, me, me, me. (It may be important to note that I am ranting here and not TLP.  I can see how you might be confused.)

POB needs some time away, too, but she has had the summer off so, this year at least, a week at the beach is more tradition and less a sanity-saving device.

I had already started looking at other options.  Of course, anything west required a plane and airports were backlogged.  Going south was clearly a non-starter since that was the trajectory of the storm.

Northwest, maybe. Lake George.  Aaah, the Sagamore.  I loved the Sagamore years ago, even though tennis whites were required on the courts and I had to buy clothes in the gift shop.  What does a New York Jew know about tennis whites?  Oh, yeah, Wimbledon.  But that is in England.  Oh, wait!  These people descend from those who came from England.  Ahhhh.

I called the hotel and they had available condos, etc.  So, maybe they allow lavender on the tennis courts?  After all, these are trying economic times.

I took down the information and said I would call back, because I needed to confirm with POB that she was ok with all goyim all the time at a WASPy retreat. POB has some of that blood line in her so I figured her first question would be ask what would there be for us to eat, because clearly she understands the differences in the traditions.  We don’t drink martinis and we don’t eat honey-roasted bar nuts (we eat healthy, raw nuts).  Clearly, we would starve.  In fact, she did ask, and I looked at her with the “after all these years, you think I can’t read your mind” look.  In a calm, but slightly hurt voice (intending to get some martyr points), I told her about the condos with full kitchens that we could stock up in case we couldn’t recognize any of the food.

I guarantee you the first thing anyone at the Sagamore would think upon seeing our family is not, “oh, Jews”.  Especially when they see my accidentally too-severe Janet Napolitano (US secretary of something) style of haircut (thank you, IFOB (Italian friend of blogger) for drawing that parallel).  In fact, I was betting on an upgrade to the furthest and possibly nicest available condo on the property.  We would get the privacy we want and, if they were particularly freaked out, I planned to ask about Shabbat services.  Hell, they would offer in-condo dining, absolutely free.  Grand slam homer for a patched-together vacation, if you ask me.

My delusions of vacation were interrupted when I called back to book the reservation.  In the 6 hours between my calls, Hurricane Irene had hit them hard.  That area was not supposed to be really affected.  I felt bad for my gloating over the dyke-Jew plague I was going to bring on them.  So, we’ll go there sometime soon, when my hair grows out and we will pay full price.  It is the least we can do.

Ok, no vacation plans.  And the boy who earns the acronym TLP is inconsolable.  So, today, Day 3 of When Havoc Struck The Blogger Family, we set out to the train museum in Danbury, Connecticut.  POB and I decided we needed a road trip and we needed to ease TLP into the staycation reality.  He was happy and POB and I were relieved to have him immersed in something.  And the trains were pretty cool, I have to say.

Tonight, we got word that our rented house will be in reasonable shape on Wednesday.  TLP is over the moon.  We are all relieved as well because it is good to get away.  Still, we have tomorrow.

Using some of my martyr points, I have cleared a Blogger mental health and physical wellness morning tomorrow, which means I get to run and look at the river for a while before we all have lunch.  Then, on to preparations for the delayed vacation.

I am thinking of showing TLP pictures of the damage caused by the hurricane and some pictures from Tripoli so he understands that life is not always a vacation.  I just don’t know when is the right time to introduce reality into a happy (and privileged) childhood.  I don’t want to scar him, but I want him to be grateful that we and none of our family was irreparably harmed in a natural disaster that claimed lives and livelihoods of so many.  I want him to have empathy, but I don’t want him to be afraid of what life throws in our path.  I want him to learn to “roll with it”.  I want him to understand his good fortune.  Maybe these are not 9 year-old thoughts and ideas.  Maybe that is too much to put on someone so young.

Parents out there:  HELP!!!



Vacation Day 2

I got my haircut at 9am.  I was still a little foggy so I forgot to say, “Mary, just a trim this time.”  She gave me a beautiful, feminine haircut; it is just that it is short and I have gray hair and I think I look a little, shall we say, dyke-y.  Her haircuts grow in beautifully, so as long as POB (partner of blogger) is ok with it, I am ok with it.  It just means I have to be more vigilant about lipstick and less willing to do errands in my gym clothes.

It was a beautiful day.  I started to run, then walk, then run along the Hudson from Charles Street back up to the upper Upper West Side.  I meandered some, too.  What a gorgeous day.  Hard to believe a Hurricane was bearing down on us.  I walked into Duane Reade on my way home and bought two gallons of water.  No long lines; lots of water.  It was 12:30pm.

POB and SOS (our son, source of sanity) came home from the beach (thank G-d) and we had lunch and POB went for her hair appointment (for the importance of this, see prior blogs).  SOS and I go to Duane Reade to pick up more water.  No more water.  It is 2pm.

In that 90 minutes, New Yorker started to panic.

We have supplies.  I checked.  We are pretty much set for a short term problem.

Later, we have dinner out, since I know we will have cabin fever during the hurricane.  POB went to the store for produce and SOS and I went to RiteAid for some more candles, etc.  The line is insane.  New Yorkers really started to believe in Hurricane Irene.

We passed a bodega and sandwich place and we walked in.  Plenty of gallon jugs of water.  No lines.  We got four gallons.  We passed a wine store.  We got four gallons of wine, also (just joking).

Ahead of the Irene, local governments shut down harbors and establishments along the waterways.  I got a call from the bride of Saturday’s wedding, saying that her venue was shut down and that she was getting married in two hours.  I was still so happy for her.  She is now married to the man she loves and that is really all that counts.

Oh, yeah, checking my blackberry?  Not so much.

Chopped Liver

Since POB (partner of blogger) has been “at liberty” this summer, she feels the need to explain the incredible discounts she gets on everything she buys.  I absolutely don’t care.  I trust POB with my heart, our son and our bank accounts.  It is her meshugas (craziness).

A typical conversation:

“I bought these pants but since they are last year’s color, I got them for $40 and you always need another pair of khaki-colored pants.  I know I have three pairs now, but the others don’t fit me anymore. . . .”

“If the others don’t fit you, then you only have one, which you bought.  So, you needed it.  They look great.”

“I didn’t really need it [air quotes], but they are good to have.”

“Why are we having this conversation?  I am really glad you have something that fits and looks great on you.”

“But it was a good deal.”

“This is your meshugas, right?  I am here so you don’t look like you are talking to yourself, right?”

[Mean, but loving look in my direction.]


Last week, I noticed that POB’s roots were growing in a little.

Remembering her meshugas, I say to her, “Please don’t try to save money by not getting your hair done regularly.  I am committed to your blond hair.”

You might think because I am a girl, I can get away with saying that to POB, whereas a guy couldn’t.  WRONG. 

“Are you trying to say my hair looks bad?”

Aaaaargh.  If only we can rewind the tape in life, I would have said, “I see your roots.  Make an appointment with your colorist.”  Instead, I had to backpedal with, “what’s important is how you feel.”

POB thought about it for a moment.  “After we get back from vacation, I’ll get it done.  Who am I going to see until then?”


“Really, is that your final answer?”  Oooops, I guess POB forgot I would be seeing her.  What am I?  chopped liver?

Thank G-d she joined me on the seventh rung of Hell.  Otherwise, it could have been a “situation”.

What is even better is that the appointment is this afternoon and POB had already had reservations on the Jitney in from Long Island.  The only issue last night was whether SOS (our son, source of sanity) was staying with his cousin and aunt out at the beach or coming back with POB.  (SOS is coming home, thank G-d.)  There is a hurricane coming after all.

After the hurricane passes, POB and I are going discuss elevating my status to paté.

Vacation Day 1

Actually, vacation started last night (we like to keep to a Hebrew calendar and start holidays at sundown).

POB (partner of blogger) and our son (now known as our collective Source of Sanity, SOS) are already out of town on our family vacation (too long of a back story).

I was really, really tired.  I wanted to disconnect and decompress, so I watched a Phineas and Ferb marathon (courtesy of our DVR).  The riff the writers did on the Mexican-Jewish Festival at the local Jewish Center was hysterical.  Also as funny was the skit about Phineas and Ferb as detectives out of the Maltese Falcon, Dragnet and then CSI:Miami.  I know, I know, it is a cartoon for kids, but it is far superior to most things on TV.  Still, it would be hard to watch it if you didn’t have a kid.  And you need to watch a few to get into the groove.  But I digress.

I spoke with POB and SOS and then got into my jammies.  It was 9pm.

I slept until 10am this morning.  I was tooo lazy to make fresh coffee, so I drank cold coffee from the fridge.  I waited until 10:30 to look at my blackberry. I thought that was pretty damn healthy for someone with my level of neurosis.

I alternated between Phineas and Ferb and Bloomberg on the Markets, as I read the paper.  The paper and the markets were depressing and P&F was over.  I dragged myself to the gym.  It was about 11:15am.  It was already raining but I went on a short run just to get my adrenaline going.

First words of the day, spoken to the barista at Le Pain Quotidien on Broadway: “Iced double espresso, please.” Aaaah, VACATION.

I don’t use an iPod anymore at the gym.  I feel a little to isolated when I do that.  Unfortunately, today, the shows on the TV monitors featured the hunt for Qaddafi, Hurricane Irene and Warren Buffett.  Ok, not relaxing.  So, I try to focus on other things.  Not so much going on at the gym on a random Thursday morning, so my attention drifts back to the TVs.  Somehow I think this relaxation thing should be easier.

I leave for a nap.  This vacation thing is starting to work.

I have stress dreams about forgetting to go to classes and having to read everything on the syllabus in one night.  Ok, so I checked my blackberry and sent some emails.  Ok, my love-hate with vacation is more volatile than the stock markets.

So, vacation is not a cold turkey kind of experience.  I need to eeeeeeeeeaaase into it.

I go back to the gym (I was raised to be an over-achiever) and lift weights and, in my best yoga position, breathe in good oxygen and expel bad humors.

All this does is make me hyperventilate. “Why,” you ask?  HOW CAN YOU ASK WHY? Don’t you read the paper, watch the markets and look at the Hurricane warnings?

Of course, I can’t really relax.  POB and SOS are staying at her father’s beach house with her sister and our nephew.  Right in the path of Hurricane Irene.  As is the house we are renting next week.

POB and I have a wedding to go to on Saturday evening in Westchester.  The original plan was for POB to leave SOS with my sister-in-law and nephew on Friday and we would pick him up once we settled into our beach house rental on Sunday.

I am ready to call it Hurricane Irene a disaster that requires us to change our plans.  I want my family, and my sister-in-law and nephew to come back to NYC and stay until the storm passes.

The problem of course is that people don’t believe the media anymore because media hypes everything for ratings.  Like the boy who cried wolf.  But, I don’t care.  I am willing to be wrong on this because there is no victory in being right.  And I will just rant against corporate-controlled media in a blog entry.  Win-win situation.

Of course, when I went shopping, I didn’t really stock up on much, except some expensive tap water labeled as natural spring water and lychee fruit, which are refreshing and a pain to eat.  I guess I am not a good natural disaster shopper. That’s why POB needs to come back.  She knows what to do.

Ok, maybe this vacation thing gets more relaxing once you get into a groove and natural disasters are out of the way.  So far, I think it would be more relaxing to be at work . . . .


The Slippery Slope

I rented a humongous car on Sunday morning for the multi-generational family sojourn to and from Rhinebeck for a family barbeque.  I am a regular at the rental car place and (as long as no one is waiting) I kibbitz with those behind the counter while I wait for my car.  It is a nearby location of a national rental chain with huge corporate profits.  Still, they’ve been in the neighborhood for decades and that’s important.

When I arrived I asked for a portable GPS (remember the trip to Philadelphia?  see prior blog entry), since I forgot to request it when reserving the car.  The car that was scheduled for me had to be driven from another location.  20 minute delay.  No GPS.  I built in extra time so I was ok with it and since no one was around, the people behind the counter and I, well, kibbitzed about this and that.

The guy in charge of the car intake and outflow (how else would it be described) radioed that the exact same model with GPS had just been returned!! Awesome.  Except there was 1/4 of a tank of gas and since the car itself was the size of a military ops vehicle, I would need to refill shortly after getting on the road.

Noooooo problem.  I know that someone would have to go to the bathroom within 5 minutes of clearing Manhattan. This is my family after all.

When I got in the car, there was a full tank of gas.  Hmmm.  I must have heard wrong.   I picked up the brood and off we went.

This morning, I had to return the car.  If you live on the Upper West Side of New York City, you know it is a pain to get gas.   The stations are shoe-horned into crevices along streets leading to major highways and bridges, so getting gas can be life-ending experience.  I look at the fuel gauge.  A little more than 1/4 filled.  I remember that I was told that the tank was only 1/4 filled.  I look at the print-out from the rental place.  Yep, it says 1/4 filled.

I am tired.  I am late for work.  I am late to return the car.  I was planning to write the premium check for my life insurance later this morning when I got to the office.  No one will know if I return the car as-is.  In fact, according to the company’s records, it is a gallon or two ahead. And, don’t I pay enough already to rent a car in Manhattan?

No one will know.  No one.  Actually, someone will know (yoo hoo!!).  I will know.  I who try to teach my child to do the right thing not because you will get rewarded if you do (or get punished if you don’t) but because it is the right thing to do.

I will know.  My parents used to say, “if doing the right thing were easy, everyone would do it.” Yeah, but I can navigate the mania of city driving and I can afford the late charge, the cost of a tank of gas and being late for work.

So, I go to the scary gas station where you have to back out onto a two way street just yards away from that access and exit ramps of the West Side Highway and do a high speed, ultra-alpha-macho U-turn.  Did I mention the school down the street?  Luckily, it is a really long block and there is nothing residential until the corner.  And, anyway, I am always early on my premium payments so if something happened, my family would be ok financially.

I can’t help but think [for those of you who think I am an easy chair liberal who often contemplates my navel, wait for it .  .  . wait for it . . . and a one and a two and a . . . ]:   If we were struggling financially, would I look at it as a gift and stay quiet? (Think Paul Muni in, “I am a Fugitive From the Chain Gang”

Maybe doing the right thing depends on what lies in the balance.

do over

I just got back from a family trip to Rhinebeck for a barbeque hosted by my first cousin and his wife.  I drove Aunt Betty, DOB (dad of blogger), SOB (sister of blogger), HOSOB (husband of SOB), POB (partner of blogger) and our son, TLP (the little prince).  Cousin Gentle arrived by train.

I need to have a do-over because the journey was not epic — nothing grotesque and peculiar happened.   No blog material.

First, I picked up the rental car and it had GPS and EZ Pass.  And, I got an extra 10 percent discount because, well, I just looked like I deserved it.  I found a parking spot on my street.  I was able to come upstairs, read the Style section of the Times and watch a pre-recorded Phineas and Ferb episode (I must admit that I was watching for my own pleasure; TLP was doing something else).

We got on the road within 10 minutes of our planned departure.  I had three copies of the directions (one for each row, so everyone could follow along).  We didn’t even put on the GPS.  We didn’t even make a rest area stop.  2 hours door-to-door and no traffic.  DOB didn’t do anything terribly outlandish and he didn’t even mind staying more than 20 minutes after arrival.  So, SOB’s and my $1,000,000.00 bet about the time that DOB would say, “well, all you lovely people. . . .[it is time to go]” was for naught.

It was like taking the Stepford family out for a drive.  I kept glancing in the rear-view mirror to make sure I recognized the passengers.  Yep.  They belong to me.

Also, Aunt Betty flew in for a week of seeing people and family (no family are not people) and we all wanted her to have her full of the ganza mishpocheh (the extended family).  DOB did start singing his usual set of 5 of the most annoying songs ever sung (if they are sung all the time), but SOB and I could just walk away.  HOSOB had to endure it.

Of course, I learned some things of note about the ganza mishpocheh.  First, Cousin GS does not hold back.  Not one thing.  Not one thought.  If he has something to say, he will say it, good, bad, ugly, inappropriate, whatever.  That is why I love Cousin GS, he speaks his truth, which can never be reconciled with the events as anyone else sees them, and he makes me seem like a diplomat.

We had time to visit with our cousin who is living with brain cancer and his wife and kids.  He is a different man than I remember.  Of course, he is.  His speech is labored, he is partially paralyzed, but his eyes sparkled, especially when he played with his kids.  He is more interested and interesting now.  My last in-depth conversation was about how he was going to conquer the world financially.  In truth, I was a bit put-off, but he was young and cocky.  Now he seems happy just in the world and views treatments as a necessary evil.  I have to say, though, I wish he were still that cocky 30-something year-old and not the 36 year-old living with brain cancer.  No one should learn about life this way.

It was a great occasion, where people were happy to be together and comfortable being their truly imitable (not inimitable) selves.  (I think at POB’s and my wedding, we are going to have an extended Blogger family imitation extravaganza.)

TLP played with cousins he only just met (the grandchildren of my first cousins).  They were fast friends.  It was sheer joy to see.

The barbeque was one of those occasions that we will all remember years from now and be forever grateful we made the schlep.

But, still, what is there to blog about?


It is Saturday morning. POB (partner of blogger) went to the gym at an ungodly hour that would shame me if I were susceptible to being shamed.  TLP (our son, the little prince) is subjecting me to Pokemon and Bakugan while there is a perfectly good Phineas and Ferb show on Cartoon Network.  I love Phineas and Ferb, in fact I DVR the show for POB and me.  TLP is only sort of into it.  (Ok, enough back story for a different blog entry).

My blackberry ran out of juice just before it was my turn for torture in the name of fitness.  This meant that I was going for a run without any telecommunication devices.  POB and I had to plan ahead and decide when and where I would meet her and TLP for a picnic in Central Park after the run.

Old style planning.  Never-heard-of planning for an entire generation of children.

I walked out of the house, feeling strangely like I lost an anchor.  No, not an anchor; actually, a ball and chain.  No, not exactly, a ball and chain; more naked.  No phone, no texting capabilities, no internet.  It is okay if I were actually naked; hey, it is New York, no one would notice.  Except that I need a sports bra.  That is totally non-negotiable.  Good thing the naked feeling was metaphoric and not actual.  (Am I digressing?  I really can’t tell anymore.)

As I set out, it is just the open road and I.  Ok, and city traffic, too, until I get into Riverside Park.

I was running, with a gusto that comes from sticking it to the Man.  I cannot be reached.  No one can find me.  Ha!!  I am untethered.  Wait.  I am the Man (or part of the Man)!  Oh, shit.  I am (part of) the Man and I can’t find me.  Existential nightmares start slamming my brain, even some too weird for Sartre, Camus or Ionesco.  The Man is not so bad.  Gee, I miss the Man.

Then, what if I get hurt?  What if POB or TLP gets hurt and I cannot be reached?

I have to stop running because my hyperventilation has caused cramps and shortness of breath.  See?  This wouldn’t have been so bad if I had waited for the Man to get powered up and put it in my back pocket for the run.  Now, my family is in need and I am turning blue. I am in the Wilderness of Riverside Park.  Actually, there is a cafe within view.  Ok, Wilderness is a relative term.  In New York, if there isn’t a latte available within 3 blocks, that’s wilderness.  No lattes at this cafe, so I am in ABJECT WILDERNESS.

Wait, what do I hear?  A voice?  As in vox clamantis in deserto (a voice cries out in the wilderness)?  Is this the moment of my spiritual awakening?  (And I am dressed like this?)

Turns out, someone was yelling at me, “Stay in the runner’s lane!!!

Ok, no spiritual awakening, no kindness of strangers, no nothing.  And I am unconnected to everyone.  And I cannot even post about this on FaceBook.  The horror, the horror.  Even Dostoyevsky was able to get out Notes from Underground.  Me, I got nothing.  No iAnything.  No RIM at the edge of the corporate drain.  I have my driver’s license, money and a credit card.  I could buy some minutes from someone, but who would believe my story?  The cops would be called and then I would have to explain my circumstances, and inevitably the response from the officer would be, “you own telecommunication devices and you willfully left them home?”  “Officer, yes, I did it willfully but not maliciously — call it, semi-youthful hubris.”

Ok, I can’t breathe from the stress.  I am gripping my heart.  Vagrants think I am giving them the “strong” sign and they pound their hearts back.  Really, really?  I am probably having a stress dream and I will wake up.  Then I stagger past a long line of people waiting for an opportunity to kayak in the Hudson River even though there was a warning about life-threatening sewage in the water.  Ok, even I cannot come up with this stuff.  I am awake and my family is in peril and the police are no help and my fellow citizens want to go boating in nuclear waste.

Exhaustion sets in.  How will I make it to the appointed meeting place for the picnic.  Thank G-d for taxis.  I am sweaty from my run/freak-out but he smells like he ran a marathon.  At least I know I am not stinking up this cab.  I get out a few blocks early to air out.  Really.  Seinfeld did not lie.

I arrive at the pre-arranged meeting place about five minutes early.  I am already apoplectic about the things that could have gone wrong that will upend the rendez-vous.  (How DID we survive without this crazy connectivity?)  I imagine that POB got a call about her father, my father, her sister, my sister or brother or our nephews.  Disaster has struck.  I am clueless on 96th and Central Park West.  What was I thinking not waiting until my phone recharged?  That was sooooo selfish of me.  My family is in need and I am standing on a street corner like an idiot.

And . . . tick tock, tick tock, tick tock. . . THEY ARE LATE.  They are always late, I tell myself trying to believe it.

I see them across the street.  They are smiling and waving.  We all hug and kiss and walk together into the Park, to look for a picnic site.  POB says, “you look exhausted!!”  I say it was a hard run.  We smile and hold hands as TLP runs slightly (did I say slightly) ahead to find a good place to plop down for a picnic.

I ask POB, “do you have your iPhone?”

“Yes, why do you ask?”

“No, reason. No reason at all.”