It's a wintertime holiday - a patriotic one of some sort - and I'm at a park in Central Seoul with two friends, Paul and Ian. Some old women are handing out small Korean flags to the passersby and, as we happen to be passing by, a harmless-looking woman hands us flags. Paul takes his, Ian takes his, and I take mine, but as the woman starts to walk away she grabs my crotch. And this was no accidental bumping-into or even a subtle, um, caress. This was a full-on grope. I stood dumbfounded for a moment and then asked Ian,
"Did you see that? That woman just grabbed my package."
Of course neither he nor Paul believed me and then, after five minutes of my convincing them that this wasn't my imagination, they had only enough sympathy to take their shots.
"Are you so hard up that you have to go sticking your groin into the hands of eighty year-old women?"
I'm at the local Carrefour Supermarket in Bundang one afternoon and inside they have a model living room set up, complete with a huge flat-screen TV and home stereo system that cost twice as much as all the other furniture combined. On the screen is playing the Eagles' Hell Freezes Over concert, and watching it is a lone Korean man. His is the face of the True Believer: rapt, fixated, and evangelical. And like any good evangelist, he wants to share his faith and he spots me coming toward him. His eyes are enormous as he looks at me and motions excitedly toward the TV.
"Ah...Eagers!" He shouts"
Uh huh," I say, not sharing with him that, like the Dude in The Big Lebowski, I've had a really bad day and I hate the goddamn Eagles. But this man simply can't wrap his mind around my indifference.
"You, America?" He asks, searching.
"No," I lie, "Canada."
He considers this, wondering if it explains things and then goes back to his wild-eyed pointing,
I just nod and walk off. About ten minutes later, though, as I'm passing nearby the living room setup, I see that the video has ended and the man, alone, is applauding wildly and I daresay getting a little choked up.
Tried to burn the apartment building down last night - and I wasn't even drunk. Tried, but in some fortuitous turn of fate, I failed. I've got an insect problem, see, and all I've got at my disposal is a can of Raid given to me by my boss. Toxic stuff and I hate using it, but what else to do in the face of being overrun by ants, gnats, skeeters and flies?
Anyway, I was boiling some water on my gas stove when I spotted a line of ants and took after 'em with the Raid. Before I knew it, flames were billowing across an entire corner of my kitchen. Fortunately, nothing really burned, as I guess it was just the aerosol that had drifted into the stove flame, but in a rare moment of clarity I saw myself being run off this peninsula for putting hundreds of people out of their homes.
"Why is it," I wondered, "that there's a thousand ways to kill a man and only one way to kill bugs?"