An unwanted interruption

Finally, he has some time for himself.

Man on a bike

It’s been so long since his last 50km bike ride. Too much time, wasted really in daily chores, stress and that odd health scare he had last year.
He pumps some air into the nearly flat tires, then finds his cycling helmet and slowly wipes the dust off. He has put on some weight so the cycling clothes barely fit him. He takes off and navigates as fast as he can through the city roads, relishing the cold air flowing through his face and clothes, so very refreshing. He vows to do this more often.
Then, his phone rings. His first reaction is to ignore it. Let it ring. He does not want to interrupt this perfect moment. But, he can’t do that. He just has to answer. It’s not polite if he doesn’t. He will not be able to enjoy the rest of his ride while carrying a phone with a missed call. What if this call is urgent? What if it the person on the other side of these airwaves gets worried when he doesn’t pick up?
He scolds himself for not leaving the phone behind, at the house. Not that this would have been a real option. He stresses when he stays unconnected. What if something happens to his family or friends while he is away? He would be riding in his ignorant bliss, completely unaware of the things that people would be calling him to report. Just the thought of this would force him to turn his bike around, cut his ride short and return. He does not have the power to force himself to disconnect for any length of time.
The phone is still ringing, interrupting his long-awaited ride, the only time which he devotes to himself. But he has no choice. He has to pick it up. Back when he got his first-ever mobile phone, some 25 years ago, everyone reveled at being connected all the time. Back then, no one realized that once you cross that line, there’s no turning back.
He slows down but does not stop. He will pick up, but he will do it while the wheels of his bike are still turning. This is his last line of defense. He takes one hand off the steering wheel and bites the edge of his riding glove, slowly removing it. He finds his smartphone in his pocket and lets his finger make contact with the touch screen. He swipes.