In Conversation with a Hipster

Serendipity |ˌsɛr(ə)nˈdɪpɪti| noun [mass noun] the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way: a fortunate stroke of serendipity | [count noun] : a series of small serendipities.

Today we bumped into one another and named it a chance encounter.

I’ve know Dargan for approximately two years. He is an Associate Creative Director at WS. In fact, one of the longest serving members. He was stretching his legs post apocalyptic snow era in Dublin and I was walking towards my favourite coffee shop for a little #treatyoself moment. Dargan joined me and we had a chat.

He had a Flat White. I had an Oat Latte. And it began…

What would happen if the internet died or got disconnected?

In the past couple of days Dublin experienced some of the worst weather it had in some 30+ years: Snowstorms, feisty winds with a dash of sunshine in between. They called it a cabin fever. Being locked inside of the house for 2 days has caused a bit of panic across the country.

This made me think of how uncertainty scares us as a species. We are so very formalised by a routine and a sense of control. There was a great line in the series I’m currently watching called Manhunt: Unabomber where they said that “Kaczynski (the main character), obsessively convinced that technology has doomed humanity, rails against our conditioned obeisance to traffic lights. We stop at red, even when there’s no one else around. It’s the law, of course, but for Kaczynski, it’s just a small piece of evidence of how much we have surrendered our humanity to technology, to the machines we invented to bring order and relief to our lives.”

Subconscious conditioning? Are we really just a group of sheep? That’s a question that the show raised. An interesting thought indeed.

“They want you to obey. They want you to be a sheep like they are sheep Obedient, unquestioning piece of machinery. Sit when told to sit, stand when told to stand.
They want you to give up your humanity, your autonomy for a paycheck, gold star, bigger TV. The only way to be human, the only way to be free, is to rebel.
They’ll try to crush you.They’ll use every tactic they have to make you obedient, docile, subservient, but you can’t let them.

You have to be your own master, whatever that takes.
Better to die a human being than to live as a purposeless cog in their machine.” — The FC.

Dargan and I felt that it has been very lovely to stop and let life flow for a few days. The shops closed. Transport folks got some time off. It was like Christmas but without prior anxiety or the panic rush of buying things. The silent snow simply helped to switch off and stay still. For me, it was beautiful.

So what would happen if the internet stopped working? No more access to Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook, Netflix, Spotify, etc- No more instant messaging. Maybe only the phone lines would work. Would there be more suicides? What would happen to those who have built their identities around social media validation? How many of us are codependent on virtual attention? Why would the disappearance of internet affect how we live at all?

My guess would be that some people have it under control more than others. However, with the unstable times that we currently live in, it seems that it’s becoming more and more of a trend to expect the unpredictable to happen. So how can we prepare ourselves for that? How can we recalculate the course direction for our internal navigations to be OK with what’s to come?

In the past couple of days, getting the essentials for the storm was posted all over social media. It was quite interesting to observe the grocery stores and see all lanes filled with normal groceries, but those particular items were completely wiped out. This made me think about how, at key times of our lives, we simplify everything within a second and go back to basics.

My dad was telling me later in the day how his grandmother would always make sure that there was sugar, salt, bread, flour and milk in the house during the war. They never knew when another hit would come and they would be faced with a shortage of food.

We don’t need much. We really don’t. We tend to over complicate things and lose perspective. This was very helpful to witness. An appropriate time as well — just before spring cleaning season.

Photography

I secretly got a very interesting lesson on analogue photography. Dargan has been playing around with Cannon ( :) ) film camera for nearly a year now and been taking some very cool snaps. He just taught himself how to develop film at home as well and, naturally, I was interested in the whole process.

Photography has always had a very special place in my heart. It was the first medium where I started expressing myself at the age of 14. Black & White photography, dark room, red lights, and searching for moments which could be stopped in time. I used to love it!

What I liked was the reason Dargan took up analogue: It’s the fact that digitally, it is so easy to take loads of pictures on the phone, but do we really take time to look through them, to organise them, to put them into folders or create stories? My mom used to have an album dedicated to all three of her children. She took such delicate care of each of them. She wanted to give us beautiful memories of our childhood, for us to have and tell stories.

We are all guilty of this habit in taking millions of pictures. Analogue helps to stop and think about the shot one is about to take. The photographer needs to take time to arrange the right camera settings. They think about the angle… and snap. Probably after a while, one forgets what shots they had taken in that roll until the day they develop them. That part is fun! Finding out how the roll develops. Finding out some dust here and there. The imperfect photos that are so real and very cool.

The joy of tidying

It’s Spring- Time to declutter as they say: Spring Cleaning!

Dargan is moving houses and he is into ‘minimalism’ right now. The snow also inspired me to declutter and go into further basics (even though I’m a minimalist already).

I recommended for Dargan to check out Marie Kondo work on The Life Changing Magic of Tidying up. She helps people to tidy their spaces; to hold each item in your hand that you have and ask yourself — does this make me happy? If so, it stays. If not, it makes the charity box. Here is one blog post summarising her book in 8 decluttering steps.

What I took out of our conversation?

  • It inspired me to review my priorities and go back to basics. Return to absolute necessities when it comes to belongings and simplifying food choices. Simplicity has always been most satisfying approach for me, so for the spring season I’ll be dedicating my time to detox, declutter, remove toxins, and introduce quality.
  • It also inspired me to try and place myself in more uncomfortable situations to try to get comfortable with uncertainty. How? I have no idea.
  • I would also like to address my nagging tasks. There are a few that I have been procrastinating about. Why? My mind wanted me to focus on other things, so I should practice more self-discipline to apply and just tackle them. Inshallah.
  • I realised that we live in circles and cycles more and more. At different times we need different things, different people to bring messages to us. Mirrors of our souls to see and address. Maybe life feels a little like a labyrinth. Different components are opening different doors. Each conversation is like a treasure hunt. And each encounter is giving me a clue to study something, to explore a topic, to look at a new direction to open and see through another door or window. Conversations that I have with friends and people I admire, open up topics and discussions and to touch upon things I feel uncomfortable about. That’s my compass to the next direction, the next turn. I want to go where there are no lights and light a candle or two or 10 until it is so bright that the next door opens up. The path stays lit for others to follow, but we are all in the labyrinth with different keys to different things. Each have a unique perspective, unique set of keys. I’m gonna enjoy this cycle and perspective until a new one arrives. For now — happy adventure time. :)

Here is to spontaneous moments! :)

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