Why does searching for "I am going to die" bring up "Frankfurt am Main"?
As I laid in bed trying to fall asleep last night, I began again to think about death. The same thought that I began to have about 12 years ago - as I was 8 years old - and which has, at different stages of my life, returned to me.
What does it feel like to be dead? Looking at it biologically, it would be like being asleep. You are unconscious, you go to bed as it is dark, you wake up and it's 8 hours later, it's bright outside and you don't know what has happened when you were asleep. You were absent from the world itself, the world as experienced by you, your life. You see, I've also wondered about life, and how this person is me, experiencing my life. It is me who is sitting here, It is me who has seen things through my eyes, who has formed opinions through interaction with the world. I looked at my brother once, and wondered what it was like to see the world through his eyes. To be him. An experience that you can't describe through words, because the meaning of words are concepts that are different to everyone, anyway. I wondered what he was thinking, what he thought of his day, what he thought of me, our parents, everyone, everything.
Someone once said to me, "It's like sweetness. You can't describe what sweetness tastes like, because for everyone it's different. It is just sweet." I know what sugar tastes like, you must know too, but how do we know if it's the same to both of us?
So if you are unconscious in death, does that mean you won't know what's happening around you in the world? That's the conclusion I came to 12 years ago anyway, which to this day I still believe in. This scares me. It means the world will continue without me. I will never be able to talk to anyone anymore, watch the sunrise or television. Scarier is, I won't even realize that I'm dead, because, well, I'd be dead. And all that life I would have gathered up to that point, will not be there anymore.
It makes me shiver sometimes.
Lately this somewhat depressing thought has also given me a spirit to life, if not just to get out of bed in the morning. I wondered about my life so far, how I've been wasting my life lately (that's probably due to depression, mostly), how I am planning to waste my life waking up every morning to go and get educated, and later to make money to end up being dead anyway.
To put it in words, I guess I sometimes wish my life were just a TV show and I get to watch it as exciting things happen but it's not me that has to do anything. And that maybe I can do other things when I'm bored with that TV show. Applying that to the real life means I should just do things that I can enjoy, things that are significant. But what is the use? I am still going to die anyway. Maybe I can go and see the world, but how would that be significant when I am dead and my life no longer exist? Maybe I can go out there and help the poor, like Mother Teresa*, but as I thought about this last night, I immediately cancelled it with, "How's that going to do me any good?". I am too selfish.
I am never very close to my father, and I always viewed his fatherly advice as lectures. He once said, "I want you to remember one thing. You can live your live however you want it, but at the end, what do you have to do?". I never liked these "lectures", and I gave a silly answer. He laughed a little, and he said "No, you just have to leave the world a better place than you found it.". I never paid much attention to him, but now I am thinking how he was inspired by an Olympic torch-runner he then began talking about.
My father, being inspired. I never knew that could could happen to him. Before, I never saw him as a person with his own life and everything in it. Lately I am beginning to realize that everyone else is human too, and that a lot of people - including my parents - have not been so lucky as I am, in the narrow minded sense of luck and happiness I am basing on me.
I wonder if I should go even more offtopic by telling you this story...
We were sitting there, the circular sofa faced outwards, surrounding a supporting beam in the lobby of the theater. It was a busy night, the place full of other moviegoers, the smell of cigarettes was in the air. My parents, my brother and I waiting for the cinema to be opened. Then I watched as a beggar - a middle aged woman - off the street came into the lobby, a small figure, she was holding a baby in a wrap that her shoulder supported. (This was in Indonesia. Homeless people don't smell like urine there. I doubt she was homeless after all, there are shanty towns behind skyscrapers with rivers as their washroom, bathroom and toilet.) A young boy followed her, her 6, maybe 7, year old son. She went to the concessions stand and bought a carton of chocolate milk while at the same time tried to control her son who was trying to climb that knee-high embankment before the glass case with all the glowing food begins.
Things that make you think. How misplaced was she there, I thought. Here she was, in a movie theater. Everyone else is about to be entertained by some movie on which they just spent their money, and there she was, buying a carton of chocolate milk, for her children I assumed, with who knows how much of that money were her last. Around me were people in ties and white shirts and nice clothes, and I wondered if she had any other clothes than the ones she were wearing, her son wearing shorts and that sleeveless, collarless cotton shirt which you see in Hongkong films. I wondered if other people in the lobby saw her, and what they would have thought of her being there. Would they ask themselves why someone like that was even allowed there. What thought ran across the mind of the girl who sold her the milk? Was she disgusted, did she pity the lady and her children, did she sell them the milk thinking the sooner they got it the sooner they would get the hell out of there?
I assumed she slept under a pedestrian crossing bridge with her two children. I wondered what she would be doing later that night, sitting on the sidewalk as the city roars by in front of her and her children, how the streets of Jakarta always smell like the diesel exhaust of the badly-kept busses. The boy would be sipping on that chocolate milk, the nourishment her mother provided for her. I wondered if they were happy. I wondered if maybe that was all that they could care about], and, they have it. I was sad for them, but maybe I was just scared at the thought of how my life would be if I, with the experience of luxury I have, was put in their place.
Last year as I was staying home after finishing high school in Australia and before going to university in Germany, I was lying in bed trying to fall asleep as I hear, from the next room, what sounded like my mother beginning to cry. It was only a sob, but I wondered. I wondered if I should see if she was alright, if she was indeed crying, or if she just lightly pricked herself with a needle or touched the hot side of the iron. I didn't do anything and stayed in bed. But I wondered if she was indeed crying. It was well after midnight, but there she was, still awake, sewing clothes tailor-made for her customers. She's been doing that for 16 years now, staying up until 3 or 4 or to wake up at 7 AM and continue with it. I remember seeing her just waking up in the morning, her face tired and she was walking limped, a part of her overworked body must have been hurting. I once asked her how she felt about her work, and she just said "It just has to be done. What else can be done about it?". This was my mother, who for almost every day for the last 16 years has been providing for me and my brother, doing that work, and if indeed that night she was crying, I feel she has more than a right to do so.
It takes a lot of ignorance to feel a certain way. I imagine that homeless lady sharing the moment with her son, sharing that chocolate milk and perhaps telling him a story that made him laugh. They may have had nothing else and who knows at that point when their next meal was going to be, but at that moment maybe they were happy. And my mother, staying up in suburbia with cable TV to keep her company, her university-bound son sleeping (the other one trying to) in the next room, was allowed that moment of sadness.
Compared to these 2 people, I have been so far very lucky in life. I can see why some old people say kids these days have it easy. But I am still wondering what my life means. I have never had to struggle to stay alive. Maybe I was just "lucky" and got an easy one where I am allowed to fulfill my dreams, and not just having somewhere warm to sleep every night, which a lot of people don't even get. It's life. I don't understand it.
Some people say they noticed a change in the behavior of a person who is about to die. Will that person himself know that his behavior is changing? I feel my thoughts have been very different lately. What does that mean?
I am going to die someday. Maybe tomorrow, maybe at an old age. But I am going to live first.
* Wow, reading that write-up sure changed my opinion of her. But still, you get my point.
"Frankfurt am Main" does somewhat rhyme with "I am going to die". Oh, and they both contain "am". Maybe that's the real reason it showed up in the results.