Friday, June 12, 2009

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale

I'm always looking for things to do on Thursdays (my day off), since everyone else at LIKE is working. It was so lovely yesterday (80 degrees, sunny, not humid) that I decided to walk to Costco. It's a twenty-minute bus ride and I hadn't tried walking it before, chiefly because it's kind of hard to locate on a map. But, what the heck, says I, if I get lost I can take a cab, at least if the driver's left the keys in the ignition.

Speaking of synchronicity about 90 percent of the way there, I was walking along listening to my iPod (a podcast interview with Pete Seeger about folksinging, of all things) when I heard my name called. It was my friend Cliff, from the late unlamented Korean class and the writers' group. He was sitting in a little park practicing his mandolin. Too bad I wasn't listening to a Hollywood gossip podcast... might have met Scarlett Johannson doing a photo shoot.

Anyway, it was very cool bumping into a friend while wandering through this city of over two million people. We talked awhile and Cliff played and sang the Gilligan's Island song for me. A few Korean men found him fascinating, and I believe they thought that the tale of the seven castaways was a centuries-old American folk song. It does fit the format of an epic adventure tale, if you analyze it. And, by the way, definitely Mary Ann, not Ginger.

One guy, who'd obviously figured that it was five o'clock somewhere and had been into the soju, squatted down a foot from Cliff and kept talking to us in Korean, unsuccessfully. (I'm surprised the locals haven't caught on to what every American knows, that people who don't speak your language can only understand you if you TALK VERY LOUDLY.) I think he wanted to try playing Cliff's mandolin. He kept shrugging off his friends' entreaties that he leave Cliff alone, but finally wandered off.

So we had a nice talk on a lovely day in the shade in the park, Cliff said he'd be at Sugar Joe's bar by the Kyungpook U campus later, and I continued to Costco. It was such a gorgeous day that I decided to bypass the 30-pound jug of cat litter and walk back home, too. It's about a 65-minute walk there, a 70-minute walk with a backpack full of tortilla shells and frozen veggies, or 45 minutes lying on the sidewalk waiting for an ambulance with the cat litter.

I took a cab to Sugar Joe's late at night. I'd almost forgotten how much I like the nighttime bustle around a college campus, the coffee shops and bars and donut stands; my neighborhood is completely dead at night. Anyway, Sugar Joe's is a tiny little bar where all the patrons are Westerners, everything in the decor is in English and nothing matches, and even the staff speaks perfect, idiomatic English. We listened to a band practice and chatted with two nice guys, (American) Marty and (Irishman) James, and a nice time was had by all.

I've led such an insular life; an adventure for me would have been a trip to a mall in Syracuse or Jacksonville. The expat's life here takes some getting used to: Cliff came here from the Peace Corps in Africa and is debating whether to teach at university in Daegu or move to Liberia; Ray is leaving in a couple of weeks to do missionary work in South Africa; Joelle's on her way, maybe, to work in Egypt; Micah can't wait to get back to every country that ends in "stan". Me? Maybe in a few years I'll be teaching at one of my new school's campuses in France or Germany, and sometime while I'm in Korea I want a vacation in Bali. I don't think we're in Podunk anymore.

What's up, docket? Midnight tonight, trivia downtown. Tomorrow evening, my first visit to a noraebang (karaoke parlor). Sunday, Writers' Group meeting and ballgame with Joanna. I gots a lot of sitting around the house to make up for.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have an essay on my website about Ginger vs Mary Ann. I, too, am a Mary Ann.

By the way, since the theme is TV, er, themes, what's the first thing you know?
wait for it,
Ol' Jed's a millionaire...