Day 376

Saturday | March 9th, 2013


Saturday. Warm. Nay, hot. Sure I had lessons to make and homework to plan, but downtown was calling. It was 23° C when I left the house in a t-shirt a spring jacket. Meow wasn’t up for the walk and we cabbed it. I almost wondered if the cabbie would flick on the AC.

Downtown held a variety of tasks to accomplish. In all the sitting over the winter staycation I forget to buy clothes for work. We had tried to use the internet to fix the shortcoming of nice, likeable clothing shops in Gyeongju, but that was an hour and a half task just to put the order through for two pairs of khakis and a new pair of jeans. Korea has no standards for this internet stuff. It’s just a clusterfuck on every Windows-only solution the world has ever conceived. All shoe-horned into an IE-only experience and a gajillion forms to fill out before being rejected because some extra piece of software wasn’t install and having the whole thing reset to zero and empty your shopping cart to teach you a lesson about something. Why suffer through that just to buy some shirts too? So, and to my phone plight, shirt plight.


My favorite shop for mens clothing in Korea is STCO. They have the best ties and usually good shirts. Last summer they had a great suit and they even had that great suit in my fat-frame “big foreigner” (which really isn’t big unless you’re Korean) size. They have the best ties. I can’t say that enough. Ties. Must buy ties at STCO. Last time, I got an orange tie to go with my snazzy suit. There is no STCO in Gyeongju.

Gyeongju has STCO’s bastard cousin shop, The Shirt Studio. They have so-so ties and nice shirts. In the past, I’ve forgotten about The Shirt Studio because Hyehwa had an STCO, then it didn’t, but I just walked 15 minutes to the next closest STCO in Jongno. To buy more ties, of course.


Phone plight was solved sort of. My contract was up, they were more than happy to give me an iPhone 5, I just needed to tell them: black or white. I couldn’t decide. Really. I have black now. Everyone I see has a black iPhone, except Meow. Frustrated, and probably seeing that I could spend the next thirty minutes or so debating the virtues of ‘black’ and ‘white’ accessories that will spend the majority of their time in a pocket, Meow stepped in and decided for me: white. “Next time you can get black again!” she reasoned.

The girl tried to upsell us on a data/voice/SMS plan that would have us paying more than 60,000won a month for 3-4 months, then drop to more than 40,000won for the remainder of two years. These phone people are psychotic convincing people that they must have enough minutes, enough SMS, enough data allotment each month and pay through their nose for it.

Fuck that. I have wifi at work, wifi at home; I hardly ever talk on the phone, SMS is tech from the 90s. Since December 22, 2011, at 18.19: I’ve spent a total of 2 days and 13 hours yapping on the phone; sent 296MB and received 1.0GB of data. I don’t need a $60 plan or a $40 plan. I barely even need the phone app that I can’t delete from the device itself. I really just need the camera, Kakao, and iMessage. Everything else is just leisure and distractions.

I always get a 32GB and not the 16GB everyone has in stock because it’s the cheapest. Once I load up with music (remember the thing is an iPod too) and get in a regular picture groove even 32GB doesn’t seem like enough. Magically, there were no white 32GB iPhones to be had anywhere in Gyeongju on Saturday. It’s been ordered. Maybe I’ll have it in my hands next week sometime.


At The Shirt Studio, I quickly found great orange and purple shirts I’d seen online. Meow picked out a few more that I “had to have” and we evaluated all the white ones until one met the standards we had. No good ties were seen, but all ties were similarly observed. When scouting ties, Meow commented on the shoes. Funny things, leather, white and off-white suede, purple on the inside, wannabe sneakers, but also faux rudeboy, they have zippers on both sides for easy on and off. It was another Meow command decision, ‘You will have these shoes’.

Done. A new phone somewhere on the horizon, six new shirts, a new pair of shoes; new pants at home. Meow rationalized it all by saying I never shop for myself so it was time. She’d forgotten about Ulsan and the force jacket buying. And the suit last summer. All of these things I told her, I don’t need, but she insisted. I pointed out that she’d spent over $1,000 on my wardrobe in the last year. That’s money she won’t have for herself, for her hobbies, for seeds! I believe next time I say I don’t want or need something she will listen.


We ate 부대찌개 (army base stew) afterwards. Meow still can’t eat that much, so I ate the bulk of it, minus a lot of the meat, which for some reason I find I have an increasing aversion to (especially cow meat). The plan was always to walk home, but again Meow didn’t feel like she could walk that far so we took another cab toward home.

The rest of the day was me, sitting in front of two computers and two different English books trying to bash out materials for the second week of classes. At least, I could keep the door open late into the night while I worked. That was something.

The Daily Bullet

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