6 p.m. over wine and Jean-Paul Sartre

I had a resolution once. That I would not drink this year to earn the body weight that I desired to be. I failed terribly in Changkat Street. It was a bright melancholic night in May with new friends whom after 5 glasses got so deep and consumed with life that we, somehow, have befriended ever since.

I bathed that night, 2 a.m., the hotel was in dim lit. The three of us were a bit drunk, they went straight to bed. I prepared myself a hot bath and stayed there soaking wet with jasmine bubble and gazillion thoughts on things we talked about a little late after dinner. I bathed for 2 hours and got up after feeling like there were no point on staying there a bit longer. I went straight to bed.

I promised myself that this was the last time I drink.

We were so tired of looking for people on his list. I did not have a list of people I wanted to meet. To be blunt, I left the office early that day just to follow my impulsivity. To see him, to only be with him. Nothing else mattered that day I was dressed in black as I always had. When I got off the station, there was massive crowd pulled over to the same direction to get out. There was a graduation. People were faking happiness and cheered over the end of college life as if it was the great end of the whole journey.

He carried flowers with name tags and beautiful wishes in Holland’s language. His ex girlfriend is living in Holland. Once in while he would go drunk and called out her name and all memories of hers rushed in like the sea. I was always amused by how he loves and adores her. He had one flower left on his hands. It was dusk and we were tired. He handed over the flower and said, “this is intended to you.” Liar, I thought.

I could not accept happiness. Not in this form, not from him. To me, sadness has deeper meaning than flowers.

I am a stoic.

We found ourself rushing for the earliest train departing to Jakarta to get there before 8 p.m. We were late. The museum was closed already. “Let’s just go,” he said.

So on we walked along with both of us mumbling about things we wanted to do like I said I wanted to climb a mountain while regretting that we walked. His sarcasm went like, “would you tell me how to climb a mountain when walking in a pathway bothers you?” I laughed.

We were late again to see the grand monument at night. They were closing at 10 p.m. So on we went again to a dim pub behind a building near my office. His parents used to bring him there he said but It got renovated then they just never went there again.

That night was the second time I drink this year. With him and his concerns about work and eyes looking straight at me and said, “I know what I want to do for the rest of my life.” That night, all unanswered questions about why Roark had been there all along failed to stand. For him just to be himself, for me was enough. That I do not need anyone to sweet talk when I fall, or to be an impostor of one kind. Roark was Roark. I objectively admired the way he thinks and lives in this world. Even though he once said that things for him were in grey hues, to me, looking at his point of view, everything is either black or white. Nothing, to him, stands in between.

I compromised my resolution to the mind of people I can stand when they are sober. I do not mind to drink with people whose mind is as caliber as those of Ayn Rand’s and Sartre’s.

6 p.m. and the sky turned pitch black. I entered a wine cellar with such great collection of wine from all over the world. She waited me in the corner of the room. I brought her cambodian silk and a coconut bowl. She screamed to the coconut bowl while I chose the cheapest bottle. She is living a double life she said. That in weekend like this she is Sartre, to exist from nothing to nothing, with no end and no beginning. In weekdays, she is an investment banker. Fucking hard. I told her that I was in peace. The night was young and the bottle was half empty.

If my view of the world is evolving to be objectivism, hers is existentialism with admiration towards Ayn Rand. She believes in Sartre. “Once I was in coffeeshop and I was detached to the whole world and thought ‘there is a flesh in front of me with brain and eloquent bullshit coming out to the thin air’. I often detached from the world I live in and questioning more things. It is hard to absorb the monstrosity of the war I am having; a battle between my ideals and the reality that I am living.” I asked if she was tired. Indeed, she said, she was hell tired.

Sartre is a french philosopher whose books such as Nausea and Being and Nothingness are amongst the most brilliant literature in philosophy. He developed the existentialism which focus on what the existence of human means rather that to understand  the world itself. Sartre being Sartre, turned down a Nobel Prize in literature on his works.

You see, the world is not Ayn Rand’s extreme views of dystopian world. We are living in reality which somehow true laissez faire is not applicable, that government’s intervention in some sorts are needed to create order and balance out the economy. That if I am as extreme as the views I am carrying, I would not have pity to the Uber driver who just sold everything he had because the economy slowed down. He said the demand was off chart, no one came in again to the shop while he was expecting a baby. If I carry true laissez faire, I would and should not have the thought of pity toward his condition.

A little late after dinner again, over Sartre and over good friends, I weighted my resolution less important than the time we had. Sometimes I thought about how lucky I am to know such people like Roark, my family, and some people in my life whose ideals are like the Monet’s; a big beautiful mess.

Grey hues of Angkor Wat

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“Aren’t you scared? I mean I am not trying to scare you, but do you ever feel scared?” I am scared of the dark and of ghost. Other than those two, nothing really feel so scary. Being alone never scared me once, it vanished long time ago when I cried myself to sleep in a dorm room, first night away from my mother to be in a bootcamp for science olympiad. I was 10 years old, locked out in an uncomfortable dorm room with 10 other kids. I remember that night I cried myself to sleep silently. Looking back now, I think other 10 kids must had cried that night secretly and woke up with damp pillow the next morning. After that night and many nights of bootcamps, scared of being away from home has never appeared again.

I have to write about this I really have to

It was a quiet morning when I got off from a motorbike ride from the nearest skytrain station to the Bus terminal. Bangkok was very pretty that morning. The sun rose up high with a breezy wind being wet from last night’s rain. There I was standing in front of the Bus station with a one way ticket to Siem Reap that I purchased the first thing the other day. If anything, fear was off the record. I came there with one small carry on bag on my hand and my lack of cash in the other. 60 Baht for a ride from Mo Chit BTS station to the Bus Terminal. Yesterday the fare was 50 Baht but never mind.

I had a long way ahead to think about than 10 Baht difference of a ride. I had a life time to think about.

The bus left at 9.02 that morning. We drove past Bangkok. Away, away to the vast vast land of Southeast Asia. Walt Grace’s Submarine Test, January 1967 suddenly played in my ears. The whole scene was ecstatic.

Being in nothingness. No starting, no end point. Just one be in one own state of mind. Peaceful is not strong enough to describe the detox on that ride. Faraway the cloud started to form a Cumulonimbus cloud. I used to watch the rain formed in the window in my childhood home in Gatton and Gunungsari. That day on the bus ride I cried in happiness, all the forgotten joy of being in one’s idea of being came inside one’s mind again. That day I felt as if I was born once again in Cambodia, October 12 2016.

Dad always said I will go far looking at a birth marks under my feet. He said that I will fly away as far as possible. He might not be right but I kept that words dear inside. “Roam,” he said. “Faraway across the sea! Open your eyes to things you never wish to see. Go far to places I never imagine myself would be,” he added. I love my Dad so much. Never once as a kid I understood his ideals in life. On that bus ride I knew, that all along this time, my Dad is Howard Roark, hated by many, respected by many, loved by few.

I thought about Howard on that bus ride. I wish he was there seeing the cloud hung low with all the rain to pour. I thought about my mother, how she would hate the ride and would pick to fly instead. I thought about my brother too. I only thought of that 4 people all along the road. Nobody matters more than those people. That perhaps I need to limit the attachment and dependence towards the existence of these 4 people. Thus when the day comes that they won’t be there to catch me when I fall, I will be ready to hit the ground.

Up until today, I am not ready to fall without Howard being there to joke the sadness away. Last week he joked about my failure. He was right, that this whole thing was a little sick obsession that I carried with me with no reasonable causes. That the failure was not real, it was only a process of searching one’s personal ambition. That my ambition was my own, that when I think about it again, it was a sick obsession that was consuming, tiring and the worst of all empty.

Life is still a long long way to go. The bus ride symbolized life at some point. That the whole ride was beautiful and bumpy sometimes. That your bus could break at one point under a wet monsoon rain of Asia. This monsoon rain used bring Malaria to US troops in the Great Vietnam War. But to hell with it! Your ride is long, your bus needs to be fixed so that you can move on.

The bus stopped in a outer worldly Cambodian wet land, Siem Reap. It turned right to a bumpy pathway and then stopped in front of Tuk-Tuk drivers holding placard of names like Mr. Jones Rampart or Mrs. Xi. Getting off the bus felt like finally I made one leap in my life. I stepped into the red land of Siem Reap. Red and wet with the rain. It did not felt like the rain would stop soon so I went on not caring about how soaking wet I was. After all, when you made it to that critical point of your life, you won’t mind how you look or how wet you were from the rain. I drove on and on, even when the rain poured. Especially when the rain poured.

I decided that day to visit Cambodia just to see Angkor Wat’s sunrise. Thousands of people all over the world came the next morning just to catch the first Angkor sunrise. I was one of the immovable feast. Cliché it is! Oh how the odd grand Angkor wat gave me goosebumps during the sunrise. The wet damp rain crept inside the pores of each temples. The damp cold Angkor released the mist while the sun rose up, created a massive cloud of foggy Angkor. Then the fog hung low during the sunrise as if it showed off its mysterious beauty. It was blunt, feared, and respected. It was another Howard Roark manifestation. 

Crossing the pillars of Angkor Wat felt like magic. The enormous and never ending excitements towards each corner never failed to make one stopped and wondered in between all ruins. This were all ruins, massive beautiful ruins where millions of people each year came by just to be astonished. Each line was perfectly alligned crossing one another, developing unimaginable relief with stories to tell. One part of the relief drew the stories of elepants and humans back on the days. I remembered mother who used to picke up bed time stories book and read one for me before sleeping. Some other time she read materials for my exam the next day. Mother was faraway in sight yet is very close to mind.

On the road back to Bangkok I played Walt Grace’s Submarine Test, January 1967 again. Still the whole ride was magnificent. I sat in same side of the bus overlooking the wide open space of Southeast Asia Peninsula. What is it that one seek in this world? What is it that we all were desperately fighting for? 

Was it family? Was it one’s personal driver? Was it all for nothing? 

I realized I was once nothing. I was no one until somehow the social establishment agreed to call upon me with one particular name. That beyond this name, all meanings started to form in all sorts of longitude and depth both afore and upfront my existence. I evolved during the time to some extent that I started to develop imagination of who I aspire to become and what I came for. 

Worst thing that I imagine happens to oneself is emptiness. A hollow creature who mimics whatever it is the world told him to do. An empty man. A con. An imposture. One should have an ideal and hold that ideal no matter what might happen. One could always change that ideal if and only if the evolution is driven by one’s own concious decision. One should, as Howard said the other day, use his common sense. 

My biggest fear in this world, I realized,  is not of being left alone or of the darkest night yet I am afraid of being an impostor during my old days. That what one self was a collection of fraud believes just to justify such fake existence. Howard asked me what was wrong with me when I blamed him for being too cruel. Too bad, that night I was not Roark. I was myself evolving to such unknown state of oneself. 

Hereby I introduce you to Howard Roark

…whom I have loved and cared so much even if I know he is very difficult. So am I.

Remember Comfortable series I put up a year ago containing pieces of memories, conversations, scattered here and there and everywhere in each corner of my head? He is still alive and today he has had a name: Howard Roark.

Howard Roark, an ideal man for Ayn Rand. One, she said, has to view this world with objectivism. That, for her, agony comes from one’s expectation towards anything. She proclaimed that a man should only love someone who is worthy for his/her love, that a man could not love everyone or being an altruist. One should be able to love another not for what one could gain or give to another but one should only love because of the person itself.

She argued that one could not expect anyone to be anything. Therefore, the way Rand looked at everything, when it comes to valuing something, a man should valued an object as it is and should never build an idealisation of a person, a state of mind, and to any object in general.

Ayn Rand created Howard Roark in some way that would not be loved by everyone. Perhaps I can say that Roark is respected by few, and is loved by little. Roark is an architect who denies to rebuild the past into today’s building. He believes that one should have an ideal and be true to oneself by carrying that ideal anywhere one goes. His own ideal in being an architect is building something with meaning. By meaning here is more technical in architecture. For example: if a building only needs 3 pillars, then don’t add one more pillar just because it’s trendy or because some great old church used more pillars. That is what he believes in his work. Most people in The Fountainhead hated him. Only few could tolerate his behavior and philosophy. Just one who could stand him being around.

Ayn Rand also believes that altruism is bullshit. That everyone who is trying to be an altruist is defying the law of oneself.

Last night I had dinner with my ex boyfriend in a Japanese restaurant. He just got back from New York and wanted to buy me a dinner. He took me to another fine dining restaurant afterwards where I had a cup of tea and dessert, he ordered beers. We casually talked.

When I texted my ex on Tuesday morning, I was missing another person. I was missing a man who dropped me off late night on Monday after watching a basketball match, Howard Roark. I was super tired the whole day the only person I wanted to go home to was to Howard Roark. I would love to tell him how I had been stressed out about work and school. About the book I was reading, the tons of journals that I was downloading that day, and above all about how I had missed him. At the same time I knew he was busy and had no time for my own burdensome. So I needed to take care of myself. That Monday night I went to bed missing a man who just dropped me off.

I woke up missing Roark more, yet I was strangled with my own business yet I needed to be with someone. My therapist would help had she not cost me lot of money just to have an hour talk. So I texted my ex telling him to come home to me which I completely regret doing so right after. He directly texted back and arranged a dinner for Saturday night. Yet the dinner came early, yesterday.

Two hours went by he got frustrated, he lit up another cigarette then blew all the smoke in my face. “What is it with you? Can’t you just fake it? Fake amusement for me damnit it’s my birthday dinner! Can’t you just laugh a bit about any jokes that I made?” My mind on that time was automatically reliving the moment when Peter Keating finally got Roark to work in Guy Francon’s office one night.

“Can’t you be human for once in your life?”

“What?”

“Human! Simple. Natural.”

“But I am.”

“Can’t you relax?”

Roark smiled, because he was sitting on the windowsill, leaning sloppily against the wall, his long legs hanging loosely, the cigarette held without pressure between limp fingers.  

“That’s not what I mean!” said Keating. “Why can’t you go out for a drink with me?”

“What for?”

“Do you always have to have a purpose? Do you always have to be so damn serious? Can’t you ever do things without reason, just like everybody else? You’re so serious, so old. Everything’s important with you, everything’s great, significant in some way, every minute, even when you keep still. Can’t you ever be comfortable-and unimportant?”

“No.”

“Don’t you get tired of the heroic?”

“What’s heroic about me?”

“Nothing. Everything. I don’t know. It’s not what you do. It’s what you make people feel around you.”

“What?”

“The un-normal. The strain. When I’m with you-it’s always like a choice. Between you-and the rest of the world. I don’t want that kind of choice. I don’t want to be an outsider. I want to belong. There’s so much in the world that’s simple and pleasant. It’s not all fighting and renunciation. It is with you.”

Half yelling at me, “why do you have to take everything so seriously?” To be honest, I do not take everything so seriously, when the joke was not funny I did not laugh. That was all that I did. Then I asked him back would he be happy had I fake emotion to him. He said no he would not.

He was confused and drunk some more.

The whole night went by with me missing Roark some more. How sitting quietly side by side was enough. At least, he never complained about the way we connected to each other, he complained indeed about people being stupid as most people are. Yet he was as awkward as I was and I was as awkward as he was. So some time we fit well.

One night Roark said, “I am a bad person.” He is a bad person and I never mind. It is perhaps because I am also a bad person. I am also a Howard Roark. Our amusement for life is in our own head and that with or without being with anyone would not bother our peace of mind. I care about Roark because he resembles my true self in which I only care about in this world.

Some other time, we do not fit well. Two Howard Roark(s) in one room are too many. Our ego conflicted, I could just easily said “I miss you,” yet I did not do it. I could not lose this little sense of pride in myself to not fall for Roark’s trap. Although I knew he knew that he had gotten my tricks and held my key since forever ago. Yet this sense of pride in one self is nightmare.

If anyone can make me fall, it is my own self. See how such an egotist I am? Howard Roark was the man who painted Berlin in the late 60s through the eyes of his father who flew from Hong Kong to Berlin alone when he was a teenager. Roark was also the man who looked me straight in the eyes and told me to do what I love doing. Roark was one person who told me to stop caring on whether people care about you or not.

Ayn Rand is a great philosopher. I read somewhere that when you are in doubt, try reading Ayn Rand’s collections. True wisdom what that man had suggested. I was always questioning myself on the feeling that I carry, was I that stupid to fall for Howard Roark? Anyhow, I am also myself is a Howard Roark.

Pagi ini ia ingin berpuisi

Pagi ini entah setan mana yang merasuki jiwanya

Memerintahkannya menulis sebuah puisi

muntahan kata-kata sok puitis dari lidahnya yang sering kaku saat berbicara

pagi ini ia curahkan dari tinta pena biru muda di atas buku tulis jelek pemberian teman baiknya

puisi ini tidak bercerita apa-apa

tanpa arah tanpa rasa bak belahan kayu pohon tua dalam buku Ayn Rand

yang membuat jiwa-jiwa melolong ketakutan melihat kejujuran sebuah kayu

yang lebih menyedihkan bahkan dari sebuah filem modern hitam putih bisu yang tak dimengertinya

Ketidak-mengertian sangat dibencinya dalam-dalam

puisi ini ia tuliskan di sela-sela hangatnya matahari di hari libur

dan deru mesin penggilas keramik sayup-sayup terdengar dari kejauhan

satu dua tiga “ting” getar telepon genggamnya

yang sejak pagi tak berhenti mengoceh akan peristiwa-peristiwa sederhana tak penting ala manusia

ia bergeming

bak Dewi Ayu yang bergeming di atas ranjang ketika akan disetubuhi tentara Jepang

bergeming atas nasib buruknya yang menjadikannya pelacur dari masa kolonial Belanja sampai masa perang gerilya

Ah betapa hari indah untuk berjalan-jalan

pikirnya

lalu bergeming

dan pulas tertidur.

Cardio/Life Talks

Everyone who tries saying he loves cardio next time you have a conversation around gym talk going on, that is complete BS. Yes I am such a gym person nowadays. Believe me, I hate it. Nobody though, not even a long time runner likes cardio. Indeed I am talking about myself. I picked up running as side hobby besides reading and crapping around about how the world supposed to work like everybody else, I picked up running as something I am proud of as part of myself. I have been running at least once a week from around 4 years ago after I had myself failed the running test in my school and had swollen lips for a month. Yeah not a good reason to pick a hobby.

Cardio is a pain in the back. Everything you know about diet, healthy life, and balance life BS that came out from the tip of my tongue were such complete exaggerations. Why? Nothing that I listed out to you is fun to do. Eating healthy food is not that good. Going to the gym once every two days is so tiring. Balancing life between social life, healthy life, religious life, relationship life, family life, and everything in between all that is so hard to do. Yet all I was saying this to myself, “get up, balance out your life.” When you only have 24 hours a day, you cannot pick all. That is the fact that you need to live with.

Let me get to other point that balance life in other writing.

I have stopped drinking from last december. My religious belief prohibits me to drink for any reasons. Although compromises were made to justify what I did:

  1. I drink but I don’t drunk.
  2. I drink with friends.
  3. I only take wine

When I decided to stopped drinking, my weight was 60ish. For me, 60ish is not normal. I had always claimed girls who did not take care of their bodies were lazy heads until it came to me. So I stopped drinking as one of my diet plans, not because of my belief. Looking back today, I think that was very cheap reason. I should have stopped drinking because of what I believe in. That would be more noble. Then I found out as I was doing my cardio this morning, that my belief is not that strong. Sometimes the idea of God just vanished inside myself when all I believe that God is within or without us. This too will be explained more in some other time.

This morning as I picked up my cardio. Twas indeed the hardest cardio. Usually I have nice long 5k run around 30 mins. All I did, except from running, was counting down the distance, moving up and down the speed because it was either too slow-looking at the distance that was not coming down- or too fast-looking at my exhausted body. Then It struck me, running used to be fun. My house is only 3 km from the west coast of Lombok. Mom used to drove me to the beach and left me there running. It used to be just as tiring yet fun to do. When you run around not timed, no target, no pressure, everything seems easier, a lot easier if you run with such beautiful view. Started from the diet plan, I started running in treadmill. 5k. 30-40mins normally. inclination for some degree. Then I started to get anxious and mad when I get halfway because my body got so weak but the journey was far from over. Cardio, then, became so hard to do.

However, I keep doing the cardio, the diet, all the business case cracking, and all the little shit that I have done for this 2016 to fill the resolution: FACE YOUR FEARRRRRR. What fear to be exact? Any form of fear. Any kind of fear. You see, life works that way. You keep on doing what you hate, loving people who hurt your feeling for the 1786th time, staying in the same circle over and over again just to keep it going. To keep life going. Running has been a part of myself that if I stopped doing it, I might lose it. People keep things that are such pain in their life to define their life. Weird if you think about it deeper.

What is it though with humans?