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.”