I fully intended to go to the March for Science.
I set the alarm the night before.
But in the morning, something went wrong.
The alarm never went off.
“That’s odd,” I said, shaking my smart phone. “I set it last night. What’s the matter?”
“Never mind,” said my husband. “By my watch, we can still catch the train, if we hustle.”
“Is it going to rain?” I asked him.
“Let me check my phone. Hmm. That’s weird, there’s no forecast. Better bring extra jackets.”
We made the train with seconds to spare.
As I looked out the back window, fog blocked out the station, briefly.
But soon I was absorbed in trying to connect with friends in the city.
“That’s funny,” I said. “The phone doesn’t seem to be working, and it’s not like we’re even near the tunnel yet.”
“Is it charged? How many bars are showing?”
“It says 100%, but no bars. I don’t get it.”
I lapsed into silence, but not for long.
“Speaking of bars, have you got a snack? In all the rush, I skipped breakfast.”
My husband handed me two, from the stash he seems never to be without; he thinks I turn into a werewolf when I’m hungry.
“Hey, wait a minute,” I told him. “What are these? They look strange. Where are the ones with high protein?”
“Darned if I know,” said my husband. “All they say is ‘Dr. Wondergut’s Miracle Health Cure. Guaranteed Healthy’!”
“But where’s the nutrition label, to back that up?” I ask. “Or a list of ingredients? We’re just supposed to take their word for it?”
But I was starving, so I ate them anyway.
They tasted like sawdust.
“Do you know where everyone’s meeting?” my husband asked.
“No, I’m supposed to call from Penn Station. I hope my phone starts working soon!”
“And will they have signs for us to use?”
“Yes. They’re going to say ‘Without Science, give back your smart phone; wifi; weather forecasts; GPS; electric lights; radio; and microwave!’”
“You know, Judy, I have to say, you keep confusing ‘science’ with ‘technology.’ Everything you’ve listed is really technology.”
“So what’s ‘science,’ according to you?”
“Well… the theory of relativity; Maxwell’s equations; the periodic table of elements…”
“Stop right there. Maybe you’re right — but the way I see it, scientific research is the goose, and technology is the golden egg. You can’t have the eggs if you kill the goose!”
Just at that moment, the lights went out and our train ground to a halt.
“We don’t know what’s wrong,” the conductor said, “but the power has failed and our radios aren’t working. We apologize for the inconvenience.”
Then he helped everyone get safely off the train.
We went to look for a cab, but a cloudbank of fog descended; and when it cleared, the train was gone, and we were standing at a fence by a field.
“Where are we?” I asked my husband.
“I wish I knew; the GPS isn’t working! But presumably we’re still on Long Island.”
“Maybe he can tell us.”
I pointed to a man, who was plowing the field with some oxen.
When the animals stopped near our fence, I asked, “Sir, would you happen to know how we can get to the march from here?”
“March? What march? They’re not marching to war again?”
“No, no — at least, I hope not. It’s just a March for Science.”
“And for Technology,” added my husband.
“You have to march for Technology? Why? Who’s against it?”…
“Well, I guess some people are. They think we’re moving too fast.”
“Not fast enough for me! You take this plow, for example. I hear tell as Thomas Jefferson’s just invented a new one — one that turns over the soil, same time as it cuts. Just think — I could get twice as much acreage done and planted. Who wouldn’t want that? It’s a godsend!”
“You’ve convinced me,” I said. “Now, if you could just point us toward the train…”
“She means, the water,” my husband added hastily. “Toward Long Island Sound.”
“Oh, now I get you! Just a few miles that way,” he pointed. “Can’t miss it!”
Through some miracle, the fog had lifted, just as we found the station.
“Let’s go home,” I said, collapsing exhausted onto the bench for the eastbound track. “I’ve had quite enough of A Day Without Science.”
“Or Technology,” added my nit-picker spouse.
“Just for that, you’re going to microwave the leftover Chinese food for dinner.”