"My smartphone broke and I feel so
liberated," my avant-garde niece told me.
"That's it! I'm going on a technology diet," I decided and
shoved my electronic addictions in the drawer for a date with the
great city of Chicago. My phone had become my umbilical cord to the
voices of the world. I needed a break. I packed the holy trinity of
creation: a book, a journal and a pen.
Into the city I marched. I passed the art nouveau-art deco
Civic Opera overlooking the river. At the Daley Plaza, street
buskers played the blues in front of the Picasso exhibit. The
majestic green lions guarded the steps of the Art
At The Bean, I sat down with my journal and began to
write. My brain needed time to decompress from the addictive hits
it had been taking on my smartphone. I didn't take a photo and post
it on Facebook. I didn't compare myself to anyone else. I didn't
hear the frenetic stories of murders or gossip. For one beautiful
morning, I had a guilt-free love affair with the city I had taken
At Grant Park I looked at Agora, the headless, walking
sculptures by the Polish artist Magdalena Abakanowicz. I could
relate to those statues. In a way, I felt like I had been walking
around without my own brain to myself by constantly checking my
smartphone like a social media crackhead.
The Agora artist made me think of my mom. She had invited
me to her condo to have a bowl of the homemade bean soup her Polish
mother taught her how to make when she was a young girl in Chicago
Heights. I decided to make the journey north on Michigan
In her Oak Street condo, my mom dished us out bowls of hot
soup. We shared stories and didn't stop to Google our
On the way home, it felt good to walk around with my own head on
my shoulders again. Am I stupid, or is that avant-garde?
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