It was 10:06 p.m. when I stepped into the house last night. I just got home from watching the premiere of Indonesian film “A Copy of My Mind” at 2015 Toronto International Film Festival. I felt restless and extremely exhausted. All I thought about was good night sleep. After I finished the shower and got ready to bed, I heard my phone beeping. It was from a good friend of mine. Yet, I did not answer his message until I woke up this morning.
“Beb,” my friend wrote.
“Yes,” I answered.
“I want to break up (with my lover). I’m a sex addict and he said to me that if I slept with other guys, we’re done” My friend wrote.
“Well, if it is the best for you then go ahead. But remember, we have a certain condition that everybody cannot just accept it easily. Unless you enjoy being alone and do not need or want to have somebody to come home to or make you feel complete, then you should break up and continue the adventure.” I went on,
“At the end, casual sex only gives us temporary happiness and temporary sense of acceptance. Those hot, rich and handsome guys normally give no shit about us at all. As soon as they’re done, they are just gonna go.” I continued.
“So I think, we have to ask to ourselves ‘Why do we want to trade one great guy with a beautiful personality and most importantly loves us so much, who also can accept us the way we are, with those dickheads? What are we looking for?’. As they say ‘You never miss what you had until it’s gone.'” I said.
“True,” he answered.
Sometimes we just take our lives for granted until we lose everything and regret it. When it is gone, it is gone.
PS: This writing was inspired by my conversation with a good friend of mine. Of course, I shared this story with my friend’s permission.
Let’s ask ourselves these questions. Do you put heavy make-up to cover your pimple or skin imperfection? Do you need to purchase brand-name products? Do you max out your credit card to purchase fancy things that you cannot afford it? Do you use a photo filter or photoshop before you upload your photo online? Do you work in a company only for a monthly pay-cheque? Do you cheat on your lover or partner and stay in a relationship even you are no longer happy? Do you know that all of those are the form of lie and there are just many more forms of lies out there?
Well, the individual is not the only liar in our society. The governments lie, the companies lie, the religious institutions lie, the politicians lie, the religious leaders lie, the public figures lie and almost all the citizens lie. Eventually, almost all of us are liars.
However, have you ever asked yourself why you need to lie? I believe that we begin to lie because our society often tells us that we are not good enough as individuals. They say “You are not good enough because of your skin colour”; “You are not good enough because of your ethnicity background”; “You are not good enough because of your weight”; “You are not good enough because of your job”. And you are just not good in so many ways.
Their judgment makes us feeling insecure; their judgment makes us to not accept yourself, and their judgment makes us feel to have the need to fulfil their demand/ requirements. The worse, their judgment makes you stop loving yourself unconditionally. Ultimately, you have the need to lie. We do it consciously or unconsciously, to other people as well as to ourselves. As a result, we become liars.
We do not know anymore whether we need to keep our mouth shut and tell the truth or we just need to lie. In the end, lying seems to be much easier than being honest and truthful; being perfect seems to be more acceptable than being imperfect and that is what our society wants from us… to be perfect! Hence, we lie. Correct me if I was wrong!
Considering to get in touch with local people, I tried to book accommodation through the famous site AirBnB. After a few e-mail exchanges with one of the host, the host mentioned that she had room for me. I was glad that I would stay at a local’s house, but it did not happen. My request was cancelled just a few hours before my flight.
I was so worried. I was freaking out. It was about 10 p.m, my flight would be at 8 a.m and I realized that I would not have accommodation upon my arrival. It must be a joke! However, it was not a big deal, it was manageable. I immediately booked a room from booking.com. Even though it was manageable, this experience gave me the impression that my NYC trip might not be going to be as fun as I thought it would be. Nevertheless, I was still excited anyway.
Friday morning, I arrived in the U.S. It took me an hour and half-hour of flight from Toronto Billybishop Airport of Canada to Newark Liberty International Airport of the U.S. I have not reached my final destination yet. I still had to take another 30 minutes of train ride from the airport to New York Penn Station with NJ Transit Train to get to downtown Manhattan.
However, as soon as I stepped out of New York Penn Station, I got my heartbroken. My excitement level dropped significantly. The city does not appear as magnetic as it is on the television. In fact, it is very repellent. New York City is just very dirty, messy and crowded. There are just too much traffic as well as construction works. This condition made me thinking to cut my trip short before I even tested the water.
Are you sure? I asked myself. No! I guess I am just tired. It is not wise to make a decision when I am unhappy. I answered.
It was only 11 a.m when I reached to Manhattan. I immediately checked-in to the Rogers New York Hotel in Madison Avenue; unfortunately, I could not get into the room until 3 p.m. I wondered what I should do for the next four hours and where I should go to. I do not know. As this was my first visit to NYC, there were just too many tourist attractions that I wanted to visit, including Times Square, Liberty Statue, Ground Zero, Central Park, etc.
In order to go to those places, I had to use google maps on my iPhone because I simply was not familiar with the city; but then again, I had other problems because I only had 40 per cent of phone battery power and I had no portable charger. On top of that, I was so starving. Darn!
It made me more annoyed, cranky, devastated and also frustrated. The perfect combination to be grumpy and dislike NYC. Nevertheless, I must not let it ruin my weekend gateway and all I need to do is to grab some foodie before I wandered about and did anything.
As I walked down in 33 Street to grab some foodie, I saw some grey line city bus tour‘s salesman offering their services to tourist. It attracted me so I seek for the information about what kind of deal that they had for me. After 10 minutes of conversation, they offered me 51 bucks of NYC Pass. NYC Pass can be used for Downtown, Brooklyn, Bronx as well as Night Tour within 48 hours. He also mentioned that the NYC Pass is including a ferry ticket. So I guess, it was not a bad deal at all!
Considering the deal that they offered me, I decided to use their services to stroll around downtown Manhattan on the top of the bus. I thought it would be the easiest way to get Lil bit of everything in the city. That way, I did not have to depend on my phone and keep some battery.
Frankly, I used to be very sceptical about the city sightseeing bus services, it seems very tacky to me. Nonetheless, I did enjoy the tour and got a sense of downtown Manhattan. It was 5.30 p.m; I ended my bus tour in Rockefeller Center and walked down to Times Square, the most crowded tourist attraction that I have ever been and I H.A.T.E it!
Since I left Toronto, I was up for 14 hours and had only 3 hours of sleep. I just felt very drained out. I really wanted to go back to the hotel and took a nap. However, I had no idea how to get there. My phone was off, the almighty google maps were unable to help me. I tried to grab a cab but I could not get any after hailing cabs for nearly an hour. I was about to cry.
“Geez…. what a start?! I wore the wrong footwear to walk around, I got lost, I got sunburn and my phone was off. I just want to lay down now but how?!.”
I looked away to solve my minor yet devastating problem. I said to myself that I need a portable charger. So, I went to the nearest electronic shop to get a portable charger. However, after purchasing the portable charger, I realized that I actually did not bring my iPhone cable. What a drag?! How could I turn my phone on?! Should I purchase for iPhone cable (again)? No way! I felt so stupid.
Recognizing that I had a problem, a friendly Israelite shop keeper showed me how to get back to my hotel. He told me that my hotel is actually only three blocks away from his shop. I was so happy to hear that. I just could not wait to lay down and catch some sleep after all the long walk in uncomfortable footwear and the sunburn. All I wanted to do was sleeping.
Honestly, I actually hate the idea of using it because it can shorten the longevity of battery; but, somehow it just is the best life safer while you are travelling.
On my way to the hotel, I stopped in a convenience store to get myself some snacks; I was extremely starving and thirsty. A friendly New Yorker said hi and talked to me; he asked how my day was going. As I was tired and upset, I started rambling. I just told him that I got my heart broken because NYC is not as magical as it is in the film or tv series; the city is dirty and crowded; it was just hard to get around to and thought to cut my trip short and return to TO.
“Don’t cut your trip short, I can give you a lot of recommendation for places or things to do here,” he said. “And I’d love to take you out for a drink. Perhaps that way you won’t think that everyone in NYC is an asshole,” he said.
He also offered me to go to the beach to celebrate “Beach Day” with his friends because the country celebrates “Beach Day”, I am not sure what Beach Day actually is. Another stranger offered me the same thing because the city celebrated “Beach Day”.
I was so surprised that a total stranger could just talk to me and ask me to go out for a drink like that in NYC. It did not only happen once but a couple of times in a coffee shop and convenience store on the daylight. I mean, I understand if it happens in the bars or social media; but in the convenience store or coffee shop on the daylight?! Really?!
I mean, not trying to show off but I often got compliments in TO as walking down the road, either because of my hair cut, my shoes, my shade or my outfit by total strangers. But getting an invitation for a drink, coffee and dinner by a stranger on the street? It is surprising!
Other than that, some people also said that New Yorkers are ignorance and rude; yet, it did not appear that way while I was there. I was wondering whether it is just the nature of New Yorker, friendly and nice, or is it something else? I must say that even though it is surprising but it made me feel very welcome and flattered at the same time.
Pepatah mengatakan bahwa buku adalah jendela dunia. Tetapi di jaman modern ini, sebenarnya selain buku, internet juga merupakan jendela dunia. Kita dapat berselancar ke mana pun kita mau tanpa batas. Kita bisa melihat dunia dan mengenyam ilmu hanya dari balik layar komputer selama terhubung dengan koneksi internet.
Saya sendiri berkenalan dengan internet pada tahun 2000. Sejak kenal dengan internet, saya sering menghabiskan waktu berjam-jam untuk mengakses internet, entah untuk berkenalan dengan orang dari berbagai belahan dunia atau membaca berbagai macam artikel. Melalui internet, saya dapat mempelajari kehidupan manusia baik untuk kepentingan pribadi maupun untuk urusan pekerjaan. Saya sangat menyukai internet. Saya gila internet.
Namun sayangnya, informasi di internet terlalu banyak dan berserakan di mana-mana. Tidak terstruktur dan bahkan susah dibuktikan kebenarannya apalagi informasi di internet bisa dipublikasi oleh siapa saja, kapan saja dan di mana saja. Belum lagi informasi-informasi tersebut bisa dihapus oleh siapa saja, kapan saja dan di mana saja. Itulah internet sebagai jendela dunia.
Meskipun gila akan internet, saya ternyata lebih menyukai buku ketimbang internet. Kenapa? Karena setidaknya saya tahu siapa yang menulisnya. Tapi sayang saya agak kurang rajin membaca walaupun saya suka membaca.
Sejak kecil, saya suka membaca tapi saya enggak punya banyak koleksi buku. Saya pun jarang pergi ke perpustakaan di sekolah. Tapi…. saya sering ke “Taman Bacaan Tintin”, sebuah perpustakaan keliling yang menyewakan komik. Paling sering saya menyewa komik serial cantik :-).
Menginjak bangku SMA, saya mulai suka membaca novel apalagi sekolah saya dekat dengan Gramedia. Ketika banyak orang suka membaca tulisan Fira Basuki, saya lebih suka baca nover terjemahan karya novelis Inggris Barbara Cartland. Barbara Cartland menawarkan cerita cinta dengan setting di kerajaan Inggris. Asyik, seru! Tulisannya membawa imajinasi saya ke dalam cerita tersebut.
Selain Barbara Cartland, saya juga suka tulisan Paulo Coelho. Penulis asal Brazil ini menawarkan berbagai refleksi kehidupan dengan tokoh utama perempuan. Menariknya lagi, Coelho selalu membawa sosok Bunda Maria dalam cerita-cerita spiritualnya.
Jujur saja, saya enggak terlalu banyak membaca tulisan anak bangsa saat itu. Kenapa? Saya enggak tahu mana yang bagus. Saya enggak tahu siapa penulis Indonesia yang bagus.
Suatu hari, saya mulai berkenalan dengan tulisan anak bangsa. London Wild Rose karya Kusuma Andrianto. Dari situ saya baru menyadari bahwa tulisan orang Indonesia enggak kalah hebatnya dengan tulisan orang asing. Saya pun mulai membaca tulisan karya Rendra, Ahmad Tohari, A.A Navis, Ayu Utami dan juga Djenar Maesa Ayu.
Tapi seperti yang sayang bilang tadi, saya kurang rajin membaca. Kadang baca, kadang enggak. Saya lebih banyak mengakses internet daripada baca buku. Nah belum lama ini, saya mulai berkenalan dengan tulisan Pramoedya Ananta Toer. Saya baru berkenalan dengan tulisan Pramoedya Ananta Toer di usia saya yang ke 27. Ke mana saja selama ini? Payah ya?! Biarlah!
Meskipun demikian enggak ada kata terlambat. Saya pun keranjingan mebaca tulisan Pram… Seru! Asyik! Menarik! Sayangnya buku-buku Pram yang asli susah didapatkan. Kalaupun ada, saya harus mengeluarkan uang yang cukup banyak. Tapi enggak masalah, saya enggak suka membaca buku palsu. Sebagai penulis, saya enggak suka buku saya dipalsukan. He he he.
Bisa dibilang bahwa, tulisan Pram membuat saya mengenal Indonesia lebih baik. Tulisannya dikemas secara apik dan sederhana tapi penuh makna. Apa artinya mengenal dunia luar kalau saya enggak mengenal Indonesia sama sekali?! Ya toh?! Tapi ya tapi…. saya juga harus mengerti apa yang terjadi di luar sana secara seimbang.
Bagi saya buku dan internet adalah sumber informasi yang saling melengkapi. Internet merupakan sumber referensi akan informasi sedangkan buku memberikan penjelasan akan suatu isu secara mendalam. Di jaman modern ini, mau tak mau kita harus menggunakan internet, si jendela dunia, to keep ourself updated. Tapi bukan berarti kita harus melupakan buku sebagai jendela dunia untuk memahami isu secara mendalam. FYI, I don’t like reading ebook : -)
Kalau belum suka membaca buku, mulailah dari sekarang. Enggak ada kata terlambat.