It was a little weird at first.
For one split second I thought, "What would I miss?" "What if someone needed me?" "Would there be an emergency?" "Would anyone even notice I was out of touch?"
Then it felt freeing.
I'm a parent and a spouse. And not that people go looking for me, but sometimes people are looking for me.
I would only be "off grid" for six hours. No big deal.
Maybe I have mentioned this in the past, but I don't wear a watch. Haven't in roughly thirteen years, give or take a year. People have commented. Asked why. And I know people have thought it strange. Let me tell you, it didn't take any getting used to on my part. I don't miss one. I don't have any problem figuring out what time it is. A lot of times, I don't want to know what time it is.
Remember when your mom rang the dinner bell outside your back door, and it didn't sound like your neighbors', so you knew it was time to head in? I liked that. You didn't have to bother knowing until it was time to know.
I am only telling you about the watch thing because without one, or a cell phone, I had to go "old school" to figure out the time in order to be prompt for my appointments. I am uncomfortable being late.
If there wasn't a clock around, and surprisingly, there are less clocks around than you think, I asked.
"Will you please tell me the time?" I asked a barista, the receptionist at European Wax, a business man at a corner. I don't even know how many times I asked. Probably seven.
It was actually fun.
[As an aside: I hate bothering people. I have told you before I'm quiet, though not an introvert, yet open and polite to people who cross my path or engage me. Hopefully, I didn't bother anyone! Does it annoy you when someone asks for the time?]
I guess the biggest thing I noticed were the "crickets". Nothing (but the street scene). No vibrating coat pocket. No Natalie Merchant "These Are Days" ring tone. The sound of silence, as far as my phone was concerned. Dare I say it was blissful?
I wasn't stressed. I couldn't check a phone between appointments even if I had an itch. Then I forgot about it.
Because my face wasn't buried in a screen checking for some kind of update, I looked around. I people watched. This sounds corny, but I actually caught myself humming to "Silent Night" playing outside one of the hotels. (One of my favorites because my mom sings it.)
My biggest score was on Ontario Street, east of Michigan Avenue. On the sidewalk, and in the general vicinity of where a particular homeless man usually sits, I saw a small, painted eye. It was about as big as a quarter and vibrant and blue. It was detailed, with lashes, an iris, no eyebrow.
It was like a surprise. A present. A little piece of art.
Who painted this eye and why?
The homeless man?
What did this eye see as everyone passed by never noticing it?
What did it think of me as I bent over to get a closer look?
Why blue and not brown?
And a day later, I am still thinking about this eye...
[Of course, my phone just about imploded with messages when I got home. "Mom?!?!?!?" "Honey, why aren't you answering your texts?" "Honey?" "Are you ok?" "MOM!!!!!"]