Day 403

Friday | April 5th, 2013

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Chard Day at last! Trudging through the week, occasionally/accidentally seeing pictures of past chard conquests, of tater tots once eaten, of übercheap Neapolitan “ice cream” yet to be licked away by a happy, healthy lunch palate. I can barely wait … to attempt to eat there again, someday.

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Today MS and I rolled up with a crew and GD was already there scowling at the out-of-towners on our behalf. But it wasn’t just a bunch of haggered old Korean tourists or Japanese on a “Mexican” holiday—those hordes can be overcome. This was a wholly different situation involving eight buses of (ack!) high school students who formed a line all the way out the front door and down to the right-corner of the restaurant itself (above, left). This meant that every table inside was filled to the edge with noisy Korean kids. Sure, we coulda pulled the “old” (as in older than YOU) card and pushed through, but then we’d have been fighting for everything. And we coulda taken it all just by being bigger and scarier (because, you know, we’re not Korean, therefore we have the magical power of “other”—the deadliest weapon in an homogenized society).

But who wants to eat lunch while 1500 Korean kids are barking “Hello!”, “Hiyee!”, “Where are you from?” and whatever modicum of English their homogenized breeding and culturalisationisms have constantly reinforced for nearly every day of their remarkably short lives (thus far) as socially acceptable? Not me. Not MS. Not GD. No MM who rolled in with us. Really, fuck that. I want lunch in relative peace with a average side-helping of fucking staring at me while I eat and just a few sprinkles of under breath, “옷! 외국사람!” (Oat! Woeguk saram!; Whoa! Foreign person).

We ate noodles and steamed tofu with stewed kimchi somewhere else. The tofu was awesome, but chard was sorely missed as was the service ice cream and a few other staples of what I’ve come to know as FRIDAY. Only minimal staring was involved and it wasn’t so obtrusive so I barely made note of it. In other words, par for the course. The day I can go somewhere and do something without some dumbfuck saying something about it, commenting on the extremely obvious, or just look at me as another dude coming to eat a bowl of noodles is the day I’ve returned to America.

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At home I tried to figure out what to bring BM for her birthday party and Meow tried to figure out how to make yummy food with a first crop of homegrown greens (above, left) to give to MS for hauling her around the countryside on her bimonthly bamboo cutting spree as she’s used up all of her stocks making fences and doing general garden pimp stuff. I wasn’t all totally happy with our present (above, middle; wrapped), but it’s one of those things that’s better for the person you’re giving it to than it is for you.

We both went out to the dinner party and it was great to finally get Meow out to some of the places I’ve been going and to meet some new folks. She even went to the second round before getting tired. I walked her home and when we opened the door to see the doggies, there was a notable lack of joy from Naughty. He couldn’t move at all (above, right). Somehow in wrestling with Twitchy, he’d gotten his bedding flipped on top of him and his sweater blanket wrapped around him. The most he could do was flick a hind leg in joy at his soon to be deliverance to freedom.

I went back to the party, but it being a Friday I didn’t have all that much left to give. At the third place some guy talked me up because he thought I was his pal Caleb Adkins. When he asked, “By the way, what is your name?” I blew his mind, then I got to blow it off his shoulders when told him Caleb Adkins is the 3rd Caleb in Gyeongju (and perhaps Korea). This chat though, was tiring. I hate new people as in first year people. Their complaining or worse, their championing of the awesomeness of their lives in Korea is so weighted with ignorance and cultural stupidity and racism and usually a blotter of sexism too. Either everything sucks because it’s so different or they’ve got it all figured out and dump their witticism on you like it’s a bible. “I’ve been here 8 months and let me tell you why my boss is an asshole.”

Sometimes, in more patient veins, I try to remember what I was like 8 months into Korea and give these people a break, then they invariably open their mouth long enough to not talk about themselves for a second start asking me stupid questions and learn about my life, but are too retarded to frame in any other way than “You have the good visa” (because of marriage). Then there’s some more racist and sometimes sexist remarks and all I can think about is how I’d love to smash my glass in their face and how they’d be all American or British about it and I’d use that to shake them down for all their traveling Asia to smoke pot and bang whores money.

It’s extremely less satisfying to walk away.

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