Day 290

Thursday | December 13th, 2012


The ducks! They live, again, still, somehow, in this wintering of Gyeongju. They seem very sociable (top) and clustered about the water and the ice shelf, some even standing on one foot with their heads tucked into their feathers like the ducks of yester-home (Oregon). All I can think as I cross the bridge, buckling in my thick coat is what must life be like as a cold-blooded animal? Could winter be fun?

But then I realize that I’ve no second grade science recollection of what it means to be cold-blooded or warm-blooded beyond that I am a warm-blooded animal. Wikipedia fails to break this out simply for me as the page on cold-blooded leads me down the paths of more science gobblely-gook than I care for at this moment: ectothermy, poikilothermy, and bradymetabolism. I want simplicity; I want the second grade again where it’s a simple list on a chalkboard with only two headings: warm-blooded and cold-blooded. The warm-blooded page is like the entire W of a Britannica set in comparison. And it has this:

The term warm-blooded is a colloquial term to describe animal species which have a relatively higher blood temperature, and maintain thermal homeostasis primarily through internal metabolic processes. These are characteristics of mammals and birds.

Ducks aren’t cold-blooded. I’ve gone and forgotten more useless knowledge that I could have retained somehow if it were more vital to my hobbies/careers/tv science fiction list making activities. Ducks can tolerate this weather better because their thermophysiology is more efficient than mine is this weather.

At home, I rouse Meow from her flu sleep and inform her that we will be going out for dinner (as planned, but she forgets things like this sometimes). She has just under an hour to nap, then we will walk to the restaurant and eat chicken (닭갈비) which will help with her flu. She doesn’t have to meet the crew from my office for the Honey Makgeolli, but she has to keep her dinner date with me.

Dinner is good and I drink my little bowl, plus a giant bowl of kimchi while wondering just how much sugar and vinegar is in this particular blend. We get our rice and egg stir fry afterwards which I’m usually too full to eat. When we leave, I convince Meow to go the the pharmacy to get new medicine rather than going home and eating whatever medicine might be laying about from the last time she was sick. On the way there, we pass the honey makgeolli joint I will be at later and BL walks up to us. It is already about the time to meet. Meow excuses herself and we pick up a big fat package of meds and powders at Medipharm and Meow goes home not wanting me to walk her and miss five precious minutes of “play with your friends”. (She should let me walk her home.)

Back towards the makgeolli joint, I run into PP—it really, really is the time to meet now. We go and join BL and get down to the drinking we’ve all been looking forward to since exams started. In another few moments, LG & JH, and BM come along and it’s like a birthday redux party / race to the bottom of the gutter fun times. A few more brave comers sit at our table during the night, but some of them are perturbed by our choices of words and topics. I suppose I ought to practice talking about normal things in a normal way (although, I’ve little idea of what those things might be or how one goes about talking about them) to make people feel comfortable … but that’s the rub: I do that all the time, day in and day out. This here is my time, my space; I’m with like-minded people, those who can be and can talk and can act however they wish not because of a pretext but that’s because of who they are. It’s the gutter for a lot of folks, but for us … it’s everyday. It hits me that I’d rather be yapping in the gutter than talking out of the gutter when out. Not talking in the gutter is just plain boring and if … if that’s where the talk shall be … I’d rather be at home.


After the gang breaks up (because two of us have to work on Friday) and we pay our paltry fee for honey alcohol, BM and I are standing out in the cold waiting for something and decide that it’s better to follow PP and VH into the fried chicken joint where it’s warm even though the greasy ambiance and stench of fried chicken makes me want to retch.


The place turns out to be nice and clean and I can’t smell the fry oil and the chicken that gets ordered comes out not drenched in fry oil and not stinking of fry oil so I relax quite a bit in this place. I even consider towing Meow here for her fried chicken cravings. I order the potato chips because I didn’t stuff myself at dinner and a few chips sound really awesome to soak up some of the sweet makgeolli. For a measly 7,500won (about $7.00) I expect to get an itsy-bitsy plate with 7-9 “chips”—this is how it’s done in Korea. But what I get is a massive bowl, a bowl bigger than any bowl in my house, of real, homemade potato chips that are curly and well fried (above). I was only able to eat half of the bowl with help from BM and the others as I’d been eating the same chips which were served under the fried chicken.

I wanted to leave these behind, but BM encouraged me to bring them home to Meow. At the cash register, the guy got what I wanted the first time (it’s not always this easy, even using Korean) and had a stack of brown paper bags waiting to dump my chips into. I stopped off at 7-11 to pick up the requested sweets Meow’d messaged for earlier and brought home ice cream and chips before 00.00.

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