Tuesday, July 28, 2009


During the two weeks I was in Boston after returning from Japan, I realized that I might prefer not understanding people. I was sitting on the subway, minding my own business, when suddenly my thoughts are hijacked by the idiot ramblings of two khaki-wearing jackasses proselytizing their solutions to the economic crisis. "Oh, really? It's that simple? All we have to do is hand over control to some tool who took a semester of business school? Hell, why didn't we do that earlier."

I was painfully reminded of this fact the other weekend when I went exploring bars in Suwon. One thing I don't like about Korea is that it's completely unacceptable to go out by yourself. "Yes, chicken and hof proprietor, I did come by myself. Yes I am going to eat all the fried chicken and drink beer alone. And I'm going to enjoy it. Fine. Hide me away in the corner booth so the other customers don't have to witness the shame of my lonesome dining."

Many of the bars, even those that purport to be Western style, don't actually have a bar. But you can't tell from the outside. It provides the fun of walking in and deciding whether it's more awkward to just turn away from the hostess and walk out again or to drink alone in a booth. The upshot of this, is that it leads foreigners to aggragate at the few bars that cater to our sad and lonely existences. This in turn leads to a high chance of being forced to listen to a flat-brimmed hat wearing jackass from the midwest proselytizing about American politics. "Really? Obama repealed the Declaration of Independence*?"

*not an exageration. Mostly I just nodded through his rambling but I couldn't keep a straight face at this one and had to mention that I'd missed the news that we were back under the Queen's rule.

So, I thought I prefered not understanding people and if this meant that sometimes I order a plate of cold chopped cow head for dinner, so be it. This opinion was altered the other night after an experience on the subway back from Seoul, however.

It's like 9pm or so and I'm standing near one end of a subway car and this old, presumably drunk Korean guy just starts rambling. Loudly and to no one in particular. At first it seems like he's talking to the guy next to him, but that guy, after initially looking at the old dude, begins intensly sutdying the floor to avoid further interaction. The drunk is not deterred. An old woman sits across the way from him and he directs his ranting at her. She lasts almost two stops before getting up and walking to the other end of the car. All other passengers are trying there best to pretend the guy doesn't exist. He continues conversing with everyone.

I am utterly fascinated and totally wish I knew what he was saying. After another stop or so another old and presumably drunk guy shows up and sits where the old lady had been. They are instant best friends. Drunk 2 screams things back at #1, who applauds and gives him a thumbs up. It's totally bizarre.

After about 15 minutes, it is no longer amusing. I hate them. I don't know what they're saying, though it seems to be vaguely offending everyone else. Mostly they're just too damn loud. I consider yelling at them to shut up. I kind of regret doing it. Given the age-respect issues of the Koreans that undoubtably is why the only reason no one else has told them off, I can only imagine the shock and horror that would ensue if a dirty foreigner were to tell some old guys to shut the hell up.

Anyway, lesson is people are annoying everywhere and I really wish my mp3 player wasn't broken so I didn't have to listen to them anymore.

Oh, also I've actually been doing some stuff lately. This might translate to more posts (just in case your life has been unfulfilled lately). Hard to know.

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