Jewish World Review Oct. 18, 2002 / 12 Mar-Cheshvan, 5763

Lori Borgman

Lori Borgman
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Consumer Reports

The challenge of being spontaneous | "We should go see the colors in the Smokies," the hubby says.

"Great idea," I respond.

We, the button-down, plan-ahead,

never-let-the-gas-tank-get-below-half-empty people will throw caution to the wind. We will get in touch with our inner-vagabonds. We will throw a few things in a suitcase, head south and bask in the glow of amber, gold and bronze foliage.

Our resident teen will be on fall break as of noon Wednesday so the jaunt is good to go. I tell my mom we're going to be wandering through the woods and she asks for an itinerary. E-mail, it she says. Nothing extensive, just where we will be, when we'll be there and phone numbers where we can be reached. I send Mom the information and tell her she should use it only to send a gourmet food basket to our cabin.

My father-in-law also would like a phone number. You don't deny a man a request when he's 91. You also don't give him that smart-aleck business about sending a gift basket. He says we don't need to call him. He'll call us. Wednesday night at 10 to make sure we got there safely. If we're not there at 10, he'll call again at 10:05. If we don't answer when he calls at 10:10, he'll start calling the highway patrol and area hospitals. Will we be taking I-65? If we take I-65 and then cut over on 40 he can follow us on the weather channel.

Before we can commence our great escape, I must send an e-mail with phone numbers to both of our kids at college, my sister-in-law in Chicago, and a pastor and his wife (we're taking their daughter with us). We, who will break all bonds with the civilization, are taking along one laptop computer, a pager, a digital camera, a video camera, extra batteries, an AC adapter, auxiliary power cords and two cell phones. Why my husband and I need our individual cell phones when we're in the same car is beyond me, but the he seems to think it necessary. You never know when you may need to phone someone in the back seat of the minivan from the front seat of the minivan.

We, who are filled with a wanderlust for the wild, make certain a neighbor will pick up the mail and save our old newspapers. We program our computers for automated responses and empty the voice-mailbox to make room for new messages.

So anxious to commune with nature, I even call the school about releasing the teen a little early. I'm sure the kid will score 300 points lower on the SAT because the hour and a half she will miss of school is when they will give all the answers to the math section, but when nature calls, nature calls. I use the school's automated telephone system and state the truth: "Educational field trip." (Now that's the kind of thing they should have on the SAT.)

Yes, we are nature lovers are embarking on a rendevouz with autumn. We are devil-may-care wanderers who will roam the woods, all the while in touch by satellite, cell phone or land line every second of every day. We will savor rugged terrain, although slightly insulated from any real or imagined dangers by air bags, anti-lock brakes, a first aid kit, anti-bacterial hand gel, bottled water, a flashlight, emergency flares, jumper cables and a can of Fix-a-Flat.

We are blithe and happy-go-lucky, from page one of our MapQuest directions to our four state maps, three Fromm tour books and roadside emergency call cards stuffed behind the driver's seat. Oh, the joy of experiencing nature spontaneous and carefree.

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JWR contributor Lori Borgman is the author of I Was a Better Mother Before I Had Kids. To comment, please click here.

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© 2001, Lori Borgman