I’m still facing the same view today: beds of trees, a tropical forest manifested in the form of parking lot. I have my earphones on without playing any music or video. It’s a habit of mine, putting my earphones and look busy in my corner. In fact, I’m busy listening to my colleagues’ small meeting, a car alarm going off somewhere down there, a public service announcement in nearby intersection, and some random background noise made by people around.
I wrote something a while back about looking for freedom in a big city. I know, it’s probably impossible to found something as abstract as freedom. Now, I want to make another walk through of my day. My boring and mundane Monday.
I started off the day with a tiring household issue about one of our domestic workers who’s always asking for more just to satisfy her own daughter who’s treating her like her babysitter instead of her mother. I walked to a nearby convenient store to buy a pack of cig for my mom, said hi to the parking guy, and he made a joke about how I’m always busy working lately. At the convenient store, I saw a lot of people getting ready to work. I overheard one of them said “Sebat dulu sebelum setres” that means one more cigarette before stress comes our way. It’s strangely beautiful to see people gather together to smoke and talk about traffic and routines.
Okay, maybe it’s not that beautiful, but I’m easily entertained.
I went to work by motorcycle today (as a passenger), and took some pictures of my office’s neighborhood while I was on the bike. What I love about taking pictures and get caught is sometimes the subject just started to pose for the camera. Being the easily entertained person I am, I was fucking entertained. I was dropped in the back of the building, and the security noticed the change in me right away. “Purple hair! Nice!” in English, probably because I almost always speak English at work. The security on my floor also said the same thing, and some of my colleagues also complimented my new do, and I was so confused about how should I respond to them.
I’m bad at compliments. I’m not going to exaggerate anything here, but I’m not used of getting compliments from anyone. I’m a background actor. I’m not good looking, not a genius, and not an over achiever. So, every time someone compliments me (rare event) I would literally just freeze and say “Okaaaay??? Thanks??”
Then, I went to my desk, turned on my laptop, and opened my social media. An online friend sent me a message on Facebook saying that he asked his girlfriend to add me on Facebook because according to him I post ‘cool stuffs’. Another nice thing to hear today. Which is weird because I only post things about feminism, dank memes, and social and cultural issue awareness posts. I also think that I over-post sometimes and annoy people with my typical SJW posts. I’m still trying to digest the fact that SOMEONE I’VE NEVER MET, LIVES IN FRANCE, AND ONLY TALK LIKE TWICE A YEAR CASUALLY ASKED HIS GIRLFRIEND TO ADD ME BECAUSE HE THINKS I POST COOL SHITS.
Another weird/nice thing that happened to me today was when I went to a small Padang restaurant near the office with a couple of my friends for lunch. There was no seat left, and I almost panicked. My social anxiety started to act up because we had to share a table with an unknown man who was having a cigarette in the corner of the room. I have no problems with the way he looks or anything, it was just my social anxiety. Social anxiety is why I have a really hard time making friends. Talking to a complete stranger is just a hard thing for me to do. I automatically think that people hate me, that’s it. I spent my first day of high school eating in the toilet because I had no courage to talk to strangers and to sit next to them. Anyway, we started to eat our lunch, and this man started a conversation with one of my friends because we kept talking to each other in English. My friend told him that one of us is Korean, so it’s only fair to speak English to each other because she doesn’t speak Bahasa Indonesia. Then, he told us about his backgrounds and started to lecture us that all religions are good and the only thing that matters is having a good heart, and ask us to be a good generation.
Long story short, he prayed for us.
As the conversation progressed, he said to us that he’s a priest, and he thought that it was a nice thing for us to join him to eat in his table and made a conversation without judging him. Meeting nice people always give me a weird kind of warmth. We didn’t even know each other’s name, and he just prayed good things for us and ask us to promise him to let our Korean friend knows what he was talking about: to be a good person, have a good heart, be down to earth, and treat others respectfully.
I believe in the kindness of strangers. It feels freeing to see people being kind to one another. Even as little as a small talk from generation to generation. A message from a friend from another side of the earth. Conversation. Human interaction is always a beautiful thing to experience. In the age of personal space and ‘don’t-talk-to-strangers’, being exposed to a social scene is just freeing. I wouldn’t know about that priest’s interesting background if I followed my anxiety and decided to take away my lunch. Or if I pretended that I wasn’t taking a picture of that little alley near my office building just because someone caught me in the act.
It’s nice to realise that I am a person for once. Even I only act as a random passerby in people’s lives. A background.
(Feature image was taken in Hammersonic, another event where I experienced many kindness from strangers)