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Unphoned. Untethered.

I’ve shattered four phone screens since my oldest son was born.

Each time it was my fault.

After the recent destruction, I gave the phone to a cell phone harlequin who quoted a replacement of $79.99. During the waiting period, I took the kiddos to…wait for it…the playground.

The fountains were on, the birds were out, I had coffee. It was idyllic. Both boys scampered into the fountain to splash and squeal.

And this is what I thought:

I don’t have my phone.

Ah.

Then four seconds later:

What am I going to do?

How am I going to occupy myself?

What am I supposed to do? Single-task my children by watching them?

Wait. Gavin: enjoy it. This is freedom. Breathe deep. Hmm. The the fresh, urban, dog-urined, exhaust-filled scents of mother culture. But it’s alright. It’s familiar.

Gaze up at the trees.

Wow. Trees. So tall. Green against the blue sky. That’s my favorite color of green. This would make great Instagram material.

Oh, wait.

And the blue is beautiful…the top of that one tree is…seriously dead…and over a playground? I mean, that’s a big branch. Shouldn’t they trim that shit?

Oh, look. The boys are actually playing together…dropping leaves into the mini stream created by the swirly fountain. Kids are magical like this. Oh, wait. They’re not collecting leaves; it’s trash.

Shrug.

I should take a pic…

Oh, wait.

What’s happening in the world? This was my newspaper-browsing time…I wish I had my phone.

Dude! Quality time with kids!

The way Colton imitates his brother is adorable. Look at how he’s squatting next to Ellison watching the floating trash.

He’s probably pooping in that squat.

I wonder how many times Ellison’s already wet his shorts since arriving here?

Oh, God. There’s that obnoxious Pied Piper kid with his million water balloons. He loves the power trip – having kids clamor for balloons. And he litters balloon carcasses…of course this park isn’t really that clean…they still haven’t successfully filled in the rat holes…surrounded by acorns. The acorns covered in rat urine that Ellison used to cram, squirrel-like, into his mouth.

Are there squirrels above me, now?

Nope. Just dead limbs.

So disgusting. So New York.

Oh, well.

Ohmigod, look how fast Colton runs, now. The funniest little toddler run: his arms actually straight at his sides, but the legs are blurry he moves them so fast. If he trips and hits the metal fence that’d be awful. If he cut his chin open and destroyed that perfect little face…how would I call an ambulance?

Wait, what if someone needs to reach me? How about those three texts I sent just before dropping the phone off?

Will the people I texted think I died? Am I being rude?

Ohhhhh…cute Colton run. He’s still sprinting for the swings. If he goes all the way, I don’t have any phone to use while pushing the swing. I’ll have to…watch him.

Gavin! Snap OUT of it.

Pretend you never had a phone at all.

Ohmigod. Never mind. Panicking.

I should blog about this.

But I need my phone to take notes.

Paper and pen: so “last millennium”.

Now Ellison is laughing with another kid. I should take a video…oh, wait.

Some sanctimonious, overly-sincere-yet-condescending Greenwich Village hippy parent might chastise me for this technological freak-out: I’m a slave to my phone, I’m missing out on my children, I’m becoming a brainless pawn of Apple/Google/CandyCrush. Whatever. Screw them. My disconnection highlights dead tree limbs and rat holes and urine scents and my anger that I can’t filter memories through a phone screen.

I should enjoy this.

Should should should.

There’s a lesson, here.

That lesson is: don’t drop your phone.

This isn’t enjoyable. I come to the playground twice a day. I get it. I don’t need to absorb every precious moment. I’m overflowing with precious moments.

What I’m NOT full of is the day’s headlines.

I feel naked, vulnerable, untethered.

This is not a safe place for me.

Get me out of the playground.

I need to update my status.

“Come on, boys. Let’s go pick up my phone.”

“Nooooooo!”

“I’ll buy you a donut.”

“Ok.”

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