About Last Friday and Curiosity

So I’ve just finished my first midterms as a university student! And I shall pass, I believe, though not with flying colours.

During those midterm days I went to campus a few hours earlier than the appointed time.  Why? Well, to study, of course. Well, no. Rather, to look for people who are studying. Mostly I ended up studying next to none. In my defense, you could open your books and/or notes in half of the tests. But that’s not what this post is about.

I met some new friends in those few days. Just a few people. And for reasons still unknown to me (probably boredom, though), last Friday we decided to go somewhere, anywhere. Long story short we ate and wanted to go to Monas (do Google it of you’re not from Indonesia or don’t know what that is). We parked in a building across it (my friend’s dad worked there, so, family member privilege!) but just as we reached the front gate, we found the whole road blocked.

Whether it be bad luck or fate or something else, we got stuck there. Because of a protest that went on. When we heard the guard say it’s from FPI, we automatically started to go to our cars and decided to just stick around within the building perimeters to stay safe. A few minutes later I heard a sound like something just exploded.

“What was that?” I asked.

“I think it’s tear gas,” a friend answered.

Yup, it’s tear gas alright. We were probably a hundred feet away from where the gas came from, but the smell still reached us and my friends who weren’t wearing glasses felt the sting in their eyes. Those of us who did wear glasses felt it later on.

Now, let me tell you, it wasn’t all that scary being in that position. For me it wasn’t, at least. Soon enough we were bored. Suddenly one of the guys just headed towards the front gates. He said he wanted to see the protest. Being me, I followed suit, leaving four others behind. But he went up right behind the police who were trying to hold back the protesters, while I watched from a distance. And when it was all over and they were bringing in a guy with his head bleeding, he was right beside him, taking pictures and a video.

Hint: here’s where what happened last Friday ends and where my personal ramblings begin.

When I followed my friend outside, half of the reason is because I was also curious, and the other half is to keep an eye on him so at least I know where everyone is. A realization occurred. A few years ago, I would’ve gone as close as I could in that situation. So… why didn’t I do it, last Friday? Sure, there were rocks flying and the tear gas, but it was relatively safe. Plus, when I got out, the crowd had already started to disperse, so it’s not like they’re gonna do anything drastic at that point.

A part of me said it’s because I’m older and wiser, because thinking about your safety and putting it first is a good thing. But I have noticed that I’m just not all that driven by curiosity the way I used to. The thought made me sad. I know why, though.

At school, home, or just when hanging out, I ask random and weird questions. Often they’re weird to the point I don’t expect an answer, but what happens half the time is they just get brushed off. Not devastating, but not a nice feeling either. Still, I do feel at a loss without it. I mean, being curious is a trait that’s constantly present throughout my entire life.

I guess from now on I’ll just start asking questions again, and be more persistent in getting answers. Or at least stop backing down just because people think I’m silly.

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