Thursday, March 7, 2013

Things were slough all over

Dante began Inferno by talking about how he had been lost in a dark wood. I know what he meant; I've been stumbling around quite a bit myself lately, and all the impediments I've tripped over have come from inside me. Since November, I've had just enough will and energy to do my job and come home and slump (in more ways than one) in front of the computer while eating all the junk food in East Asia, trying to stay awake till 10 p.m., and waking up a 4:30 or 5:00.

I know what you'll say, O Hypothetical Reader: must be the Winter Blues. That is a factor; I cut way back on my running and general outside-being, which is always my favorite state. I holed up and ate a lot of synthesized food-like substances and got a little rounder.

But the downswing started before the weather got bad, and it ended before the first tentative hint of spring. I suspect the proximate cause was finishing the marathon; the training gave me structure and purpose and something to look forward to, and meeting my goal left me aimless. (I wonder how Neil Armstrong felt right after he got back from the Moon...) Then again, I was obsessively following the US election, and that ended a few days after my race. And maybe, just maybe, I've been lonely.

But in the last few weeks I've pulled myself out of my slough and sloughed off my malaise . (I like to preen over my knowledge of our language, but I never knew that "slough", as in swamp, rhymes with "cow"; I thought, like "slough", as in cast off, it rhymed with "tough"... didn't you? Don't think you can avoid answering just because you're hypothetical.)

Anyway, I'm doing much better.

What changed?

Mostly. energy or not, I got out and started doing stuff, rediscovering that there's life beyond the cat and the keyboard. My friend Kat, whom I've mentioned here recently, has been a great inspiration. She goes and does stuff, the more adventurous the better. Her inviting me to hike Bukhansan gave me a great jumpstart. And I've been going out for lunch and merriment on Saturdays after the hash.

In the last few weeks, I've hashed a bunch of times and had some interesting experiences:

Well, we laid that meme to rest for good.

Yes, I slid down the slidewalk too.

 Yeah, I would love to drink that, but I'm a vegetarian. It's a shame.

...and took part in a surprise 30th-birthday party for our friend HHIT; Two dozen of us hid in Foo Foo's little kitchen as HHIT walked in, thinking he was going to help Foo Foo move a TV, saw us, muttered a rude word, and we erupted in laughter. The only implement we had for him to break the pinata with was a golf club, and as Foo Foo has a big-screen TV and a light hanging from the ceiling...

...someone just threw the pinata to HHIT, who broke it open with a single punch

And then he had his nearly waist-length hair chopped off for Locks of Love:
Adult beverages may have been consumed, in moderation.

The next day, I hiked the silent hountain near my house...
 This is my church on Sundays.

and hurried back to change clothes and head to Itaewon, where I played a bartender in my friend Lost-a-Lot's indie film...
Stars have chiseled cheekbones; extras have bow ties.

...and attended Kat's pre-departure house party and ran a bunch of times with my new friend and colleague Dave, who's really very smart even if he only graduated from Cal Berkeley, and... you know, it all runs together. I know I've forgotten some things...

In the last week, I have literally had more social engagements than I did in a full year in Daegu:

Friday: poker with the guys from work

Saturday: hashing
 Some of them are my close friends; all of them are family.

Sunday: Coffee and Korean practice with Qinjie:
Friends don't have to have a single thing in common.

Monday: Korean class, then pancake dinner with Kat.

Tuesday: Chinese dinner with Qinjie, Kate, and Ms. Jeon. (See previous post.)

Wednesday: Mexican dinner signaling transition in mismanagement...
I'm upper management now... time to set my fiendish plan in motion!

Thursday (today): Nothing! So I'm gracing you with my wit and wisdumb.

Friday: Our course counselor Brian's bachelor party. (We are anticipating such decadent activities as bowling and darts.)

Saturday: Kat and Jason's going-away party.

Sunday: Coffee and Korean practice with Qinjie.

Monday: Korean class.

So, as you see, I've been a busy little corndog. Tug is slacking off and not doing the dishes as he should, or the cooking--and he's already got the oven mitts built in! So the place is a mess. But otherwise things are hopping and I am well.

(The following denouement is a bit overly rosy... the best friends I have here [Kat, Jane, Val] are leaving soon and school can be a grind--30 four-page papers to proofread--and the Mets still haven't called to give me a tryout at first base, but still, I love an upbeat ending, so...)

I'm  looking for fun and feelin' groovy.

Also dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep. Good night!

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