What I Learn From A Life Without A (Smart)Phone

Look to your right, or your left, and I can almost guarantee you have your phone beside you. Maybe, you’re using one right now and facing it right upon you. As I am writing this, I have mine placed on my left; but it is only after three months of absence that I finally can get a hold of this Samsung S3. What’s interesting, those three months are my summer which I spent without a phone — a smartphone to be exact since I have a backup phone in place when my S3 refuse to charge and turn on. My backup is actually a Blackberry Onyx purchased in 2009 that I use solely for texting and making calls (also, playing Solitaire). So my life has pretty much been lonely as if not always without the presence of internet at the back my own hand, everywhere. I definitely started noticing differences around me during the times I am not with my phone.

I learned that a phone really is a great distraction within a social setting. After setting up meetings with my friends — either via e-mail, via text, via phone call, or via Line from my desktop — I caught a glimpse of moments in which I was left dumbfounded as everyone is busy with their phone. A reminder like, “hey I’m here, we ought to talk about something,” was often thrown as a call for attention. Maybe if I have a phone at that time I would also drown myself in whatever’s on the screen, but the only thing available on my phone is a single game that I’ve finished over and over again.

I don’t see the mobile phone as something negative, but only then its effects really hit me. I got lonely, whether when I am with people or without one. I missed a lot of group conversation, Snapchat goofs, meetings, and even some business opportunities. It is sad when I have this ‘inability’ to share and express as I cannot take pictures to post to Instagram or to post a tweet right away when I feel like I have something clever to say. As when I am with people, I am lost in many conversations and gossips. Although surprisingly without a phone I don’t feel any urge to ‘stalk’ people and my curiosity peaked on more important things I found on the net, which I find to be an extremely positive effect of having a broken phone. Now because I am bored most of the time without a phone, I finally find a new hobby which is to participate in PostCrossing.

Another fact I found out is that I actually spent more money on phone credit. I have to make a lot of calls and at the same time were forced to overcome my fear of making phone calls to strangers. Funnily at the same time it is a great excuse to miss out of things that I don’t want to do. I blurt out excuses of my phone being broken and successfully dodged myself out of things I am reluctant to do. Yet another con, as I have a different number on my backup phone, it really messes up several things including a mixed up Gojek order, missing a class at uni and causes a typo that lost me a brand deal. Maybe that’s karma, perhaps.

I think after going through a month without accessing social media through my phone, which I think it is the essential problem I faced in going without a phone, I think it is true that the saying “phone brings the farther people closer, and the closer people farther,” occur due to the effect of phones and its convenience in our daily life. After the days had passed I can conclude that I can live without a (smart)phone, but I would prefer to live with it. I miss out many things but not the most important ones in my life since I know that people who are important to me would be available regardless by the reach of a phone (or a postcard, in my most extreme case) or through a buzzing chat room. My phone definitely contribute greatly to my life, yet by this I am reminded that staying away from it once in a while is actually a good thing.

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What Is The Deal With Eating Alone?

I have always identified myself as an asocial, introverted, and my friends often refer me as a loner, which I found myself agreeing to it. Introversion is seen as how one restore their energy by restraining themselves from a social situation. Yet despite those labels I put on myself, there are still times here and then that I wish I could have gone out and basically get out of my room. But sometimes when there’s no one available for me, then it is the time where I should bear in venturing by my own — and that does not exclude the idea of eating out. As a self-proclaimed gourmet and as a food enthusiast, I am always excited to try out new dining places in town and savoring its delicacies even though it would mean to disregard my diet plan. Hence, the reason why I started my own food blog were to document such passion in. The thing is, eating out is always viewed as a social activity. Going out for a table for one seemed to be frowned upon in the society, but you at least go to a café if you want to grab a few bites for your own and devour it in the corner. WiFi optional.

Admittedly I often dine out alone, but that doesn’t make me any less hesitant and embarrassed the next time I do it. “Oh, it’s just me alone” seemed to be a presenting statement that I am single, unwanted, and lonely, those of which brought my introversion into a darker light as I feel like I would then be perceived as a selfish, antisocial, greedy glutton. The only way to avoid that kind of sentiment were either to bring in a friend or just grab a take out so then you would not be wasting the space on a table that were meant for at least a party of two. Another confusion is the limitation to the food that you would try since there’s no one to share food with while your stomach cannot help it if you are ordering multiple dishes. Or if your stomach can do, the server’s seemingly judgmental glares ogling over you dear solo diner will make you feel so uneasy. But why did I felt that way?

Dining alone has its own amazing advantages:

  1. It allows me to eat at my own pace;
  2. It let me order my favorite meal without any hesitation;
  3. It gives me space. Literally. Get that cushy sofa bench seat whenever the service is slow or take out your notebook and begin scribbling on the table while waiting for your dish to come;
  4. In an attempt of being social, eating alone allows you to have a conversation with the servers, the chefs, and even the manager and hear some of their most interesting stories;
  5. It stops you from eating too much, like from that one platter for three that you ate with only one of your friend plus all the mains you’re eating;
  6. Dining becomes much quicker and efficient;
  7. Dressing up and make up optional;
  8. You can focus on your phone without being called out for ‘not paying enough attention’;
  9. Reservations are less necessary;
  10. It is seen as a way of treating yourself; a reward;
  11. You don’t have to wait for other people to finish their meal;
  12. You can visit the restaurant at any time within its operational hour;
  13. You look so damn independent, so established, so stable, so well.

Of course it has its own disadvantages:

  1. Ordering extra is not good for your wallet and maybe your stomach, too;
  2. You have to pay your food by your own;
  3. Phone reservation might seem odd;
  4. If the restaurant is pretty busy, you’ll be the first one expected to leave;
  5. Continuation of the previous points, without a party alongside your meal you have no excuse to stay at the restaurant much longer;
  6. Strangers might find you approachable, and not all of them are pleasant;
  7. ‘Dining is an experience’;
  8. As if you haven’t heard the term takeout, delivery, or Seamless.
  9. You’ll look like a dork.

The cons I listed above doesn’t seem to be a big deal. It certainly not a bigger deal in comparison to the thought of being seen as a friendless loser since a good friend has always been seen as a commodity. Your worth is defined by the people surrounding you — that always seemed to be the idea. Your friends defined your social groups at school, i.e. the popular, the jocks, the nerds; and that doesn’t end there. Your acquaintances today defined your social presence, your position within the societal hierarchy based on your wealth, network, and class. The problem is not the ‘alone’ part since today most people do things by themselves, but eating has always highlight the condition of humans in being a social creature that grows by the idea that eating is communal. In Indonesia, there was a Javanese proverb that roughly translates to “to eat or not to eat, it’s the gathering that matter”. If to dine alone means to stray from the concept, but is it so strange when these days being alone seemed so normal? By the time it becomes the norm, hopefully, the solitary can better survive this modern world.

The Significance of The Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

The Supreme Court of the United States concluded an opinion upon the Obergefell v. Hodges case regarding to the legalization of gay marriage in all 50 states by June 26th 2015, deeming it constitutional by their authority and provide the provisions for all people, regardless of orientation, shall have the right to marry, to love, to express. The decision had brought (as it is had always been accompanied by) great debate concerning the support or opposition to the concept of same-sex marriage, let alone its relationship and matter of sexuality that has not yet been greatly recognized. This occurs not only within the United States and this decision bring forth the topic to a greater awareness across layers of the population.

By the time the decision had made public, the world rejoices. Global brands tweeted their congratulatory marks with an innovative catchphrase that includes the hashtag #LoveWins, multiple companies decorated their logo with the alignment of the rainbow flag representing the Pride, and maybe you and your friends had been updating your Facebook profile picture with an overlay of rainbow flags in celebration of the decision. This time, we would not talk about why you should or should not agree with the decision favored by the majority of the United States Supreme Court justices. Instead, we shall recognize the importance of the historical declaration established by the decision — not just within the United States, but also around the globe.

1. It promotes equality

Or just, or fairness, or whatever the legal jargon is for it. The decision had further encompassed the concept of freedom and the power of the people through a democratic concept set by the system of the court. It brings the issue forward. The United States, in its power as one of the most powerful country in the world has set an inspiring settlement to the concept of same-sex marriage that might have been foreign in some countries and frowned upon in most communities. The settlement had proven that the power of democracy will come forth especially within a reminder that constitutional rights belong to everyone within the scope of the concept. The decision would hopefully encompass equality and further eliminate discrimination one’s sexuality; to encourage differences until it no longer makes a difference.

2. It affirms the legal standing

The decision gives a legal recognition to the sanctity of marriage regardless of one’s sex and sexuality. It became the ground to the lawfulness of numerous marriages celebrated after the decision. This would also project the image of the United States as a place that is open to the LGBTQIA+ community through one small step to another as the issue proposed issue to the court were regarding the question whether the Constitution protects the right of same-sex couples to marry. As the fourteenth amendment of the United States, constitution provides such guarantee, shall other countries reflect their own to further elaborate the concept of marriage across different sexualities

3. It provides security

The changes can go to an amazing distance from eliminating bullying onto saving one’s lives. People need to recognize this as United States has become a home to numerous LGBT refugees from many countries, providing protection and safety from great threats that one may suffer due to their sexuality as thousands of LGBT individuals have come to the United States in the hopes to escape discrimination and abuse in their countries. The further development of the decision can start from legalizing one’s sexuality to wholly appreciate and protect the relationship of the subjects in its widespread in other areas of the world as the LGBT community becomes tolerated.

4. It encourages acceptance

No matter what your belief is, the decision is great news for humanity as it brings the human rights issues forward. Seeing the positivity deriving from the decision, it is only about the time where people shall learn to be more accepting and to start seeing in a perspective in a more open-minded discussion. This decision shall surely provoke discussions, but only would then people became more understanding to one another. Constitutional Court has elaborated the law to be a measure equal to all, with such spirit then there shall be more justification of the concept of sexuality in the marriage institution.

5. It inspires 

“Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal. Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits,” stated by Chief Justice John G. Roberts. The United States has now successfully deliver the aspiration of their people, followed by immediate joyful implementations as gay marriages are now celebrated in all states as we speak. The success shall then hopefully inspire many other nation to recognize the power of the people and their liberty to be recognized despite their sexuality.

You don’t have to agree with the lifestyle but shall then respect to the way in which others are living their lives and not exclude people into obtaining their rights. With this as means to promote the rights of all, may the decision become an evidence, despite the difference of views and understanding of the different person in the hope that humanity shall come through.