Good morning, ladies and gentlemen! How the hell are you? Do me a favor and thank God that it’s Friday. If you put on a stethoscope and press the heart-end against the ground, you’ll hear a faint “You’re welcome.” Some of you may have to work tomorrow–me, too–but at least it’s not Monday, eh?
I was momentarily gobsmacked by the loss of my second to last post. Has that ever happened to you? It’s discouraging. Of course, it’s minor compared to what happened with the old blog I started out with at a different service. Once while posting something at an internet cafe in my neighborhood here in Seoul, I lost forty pages of writing. That sucked shit from a dog’s asshole.
Have you heard about how Quentin Tarantino has decided to scrap his latest movie because someone revealed the script in advance online? I’m not a big Tarantino fan (I find his films suffer from insufficient violence, a dearth of cavalier sadism, and not enough gratuitous profanity), but that was a really shitty thing to do. The guy has the right to present the product he’s pregnant with to the world. (Someone else stole Bryan Cranston’s Breaking Bad script last year; seems to be the in thing to do these days.)
The only reason I mention this is that some stranger might have tampered with my blog account. That means I have to change my bloody password. I don’t believe it’s a virus, as my computer has been acting normal otherwise, and the blog itself is up and running again, wheezing around the track like a fat Saint Bernard lugging a magnum of red wine around his neck. Not that you don’t have better things to do than listen to my narcissistic whinging.
Yesterday my wife Jina laid into me about having too many boxes of papers, as well as too many books. Although she may have had a point, her way of making it was shrill in the extreme. I thought maybe she was stressed out since her mother was coming to visit us that afternoon and was projecting her tension on me. I was just trying to nibble some rice and kimchi for a modest breakfast so I could have enough coffee to propel me out of the apartment and go meet my student for lunch at a nearby Italian restaurant (he’d offered to treat me for Teachers’ Day).
But when a chicken starts pecking you in the face and won’t stop, you sometimes have to resort to yelling. I stood up and told her to get off my case, stopping short of giving myself a sore throat. I promised loudly to do as she’d asked–or rather demanded. I said I’d throw out some of the papers and trade in a bunch of books.
Eventually the hyperactive psycho relented and even apologized for having attacked me. She gave me a hug while saying my hoarding habit got on her nerves. I admitted that I’m a hard person to live with and said sorry I’d raised my voice too.
More bliss than you can shake a saber at!
For lunch I had a dish called arrabiata (which I’m probably misspelling), tomato pasta with bacon, while my student had the risotto pescatore. It was a clear, sunny day so I walked to the restaurant. The air appeared clear again after another brief wave of yellow dust blown in from China, Mongolia, the Gobi Desert. Breathing was a pleasure.
After lunch I walked back up a flight of stone steps, took a shower, and got dressed.
My mother-in-law arrived shortly thereafter. She was dressed much better than I was, but I was too coarse to shift into elegant host mode. I think it was the only time since I’ve known her that we were together without an interpreter. It’s funny how part of cordiality when encountering someone in another culture entails pretending you understand what the other person is saying when you actually have no idea. It would just look too rude to sit there and stare uncomprehendingly. Maybe that’s why so many of my lower level students are so polite (although I have one class who has the deer-in-the-UFO-headlights look down pat).
I asked her if Jina was on her way. She called her and handed me the phone. Jina said she’d be there in half an hour, and suggested we practice speaking Korean together. As I’ve only lived in the country eight years, I still can’t produce the language spontaneously, so I went and got a couple Korean textbooks from the bookshelf in the living room and sat down next to my changmonim (Korean for mother-in-law).
Since we couldn’t even make much small talk together, we took turns reading the sentences out loud to each other. I read the ones in Korean, while she read the English translations (for example, “Hyugaesil i odeo iseumnika?” “Where is the lounge?” “Seomusir yopae isumnida.” “It is next to the office.”). (As we read each sentence only once, and I’m too lazy to review, I was unable to write those sentences for you from memory but had to look them up in the textbook and transliterate them.)
We had a nice time.
After Jina got home, I went into the bedroom and changed my clothes at her behest. Then, instead of joining her and changmonim, I took a long nap. I got up a couple of hours later to help see her mother off.
Later in the day, when Jina left to go worship with some of her fellow Christians in one of their homes so they could speak in tongues together in an attempt to legitimize their delusional convictions and the bizarre behavior they led to, I loaded up my backpack with books, several of which I hadn’t even read yet, and walked down to the bookstore to trade them in.
Instead of getting cash back, I chose to buy a couple more books (something Jina appreciated later when I got back home), along with a magazine featuring an interview with Louis CK. Then off to dinner at a Mexican restaurant. Met a street musician from my hometown. We chatted for several minutes and I bought a few of his CD’s. Turned out he and I knew a few of the same musical people.
I was going to change out of the shorts I was wearing and walk up the mountain when I got home, but I was too tired, so I read for awhile as Jina explored values online. As usual, I went to bed several hours before she did. Also as usual, she woke me up in the middle of the night, but I was able to go back to sleep without any problem.
Now I have to go back to work again.
Is there no justice in this world?