Dear K

Dear Korea,

I miss Cass. I miss Hite, I even miss O.B. I never thought I would, but I do. I hated O.B but damnit, I miss it now. I guess that’s a “don’t know what you got till it’s gone” situation.  I miss walking everywhere and getting stared at. You really made me feel like a bigshot,  like someone special.  Like a D-list celebrity. Since you’ve been gone, I’ve been wearing ridiculous outfits in a pathetic, desperate plea for attention. Nobody notices. The other day I wore one of those animal winter hat thingys I bought in Bupyeong, hoping it would cause a stir. It was 80 degrees and sunny but no dice. These people are so de-sensitized. My size and stature mean nothing to them. And curse this melting pot of a society, I don’t even stand out a little. For God’s sake, I fit right in.  Sucks to be me, K. I miss the adulation from the kids. All I had to do was walk down the street and they loved me. I saw myself as John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever swaggin down to school each day. Over here, I leave home and feel like John Travolta in Battlefield Earth. The other day, a friend and I went down to the park to play tennis. He’s awful (which makes me feel great), I was really channeling my inner Federer. As I crushed the one and only overhand smash of the day (and my life) , a car passed and a male voice yelled out “FUCK TENNIS!”. We cracked up instantly and were immediately grilled by the father of three boys at the next court. For the next two games , we tried to hide our laughter looking away from him and his little tennis prodigies. A similar incident had happened once to a friend in Colorado and I couldn’t help but think that would never happen in Korea. I don’t like understanding what people are talking about K. With you, I never had any clue what people were yelling about and I liked it a whole lot better. The other day I had to listen to a Puerto Rican woman haggle over the price of a box at the post office and it was really painful. Let’s hope I recover soon. Let’s hope she never needs a box again. Likewise, I hate people understanding what I’m talking about. With you, I could listen to music and feel free to sing along to the f-word, n-word, b-word, motherfucker and what have you. And nobody was EVER offended. Ever. I miss that freedom. My co-workers here would be all up in arms if I sang along to some 2Pac or Em.  I really miss the kids. They were superior to my new co-workers in every way. They were cheerful, they always high-fived me and two of them gave me Peppero on Peppero day. I don’t miss Peppero though, it’s a gimmick and it’s overrated.  I do miss Donenu, Galbi and Seaweed Soup. That was some good eatin’ and cheap too. I miss those nights where I would deliberately eat as much as I could, risking spontaneous combustion just to see how much it would cost. I miss paying 8,000 won ($8) for a meal that could stuff Andre the Giant. I definitely miss not tipping anybody. And I really miss saying Yeogeeyo. That was fun. Maybe my favorite Korean word. I used to say it with such swagger that waiters would drop everything and come ask me how I speak Korean so well. And I would tell them to quit lazing around and to go get my fuckin food. And they would. I miss getting excellent service, free ‘service-uh’ and THEN not tipping. I miss the several bottles of cold water provided when I asked for water. Korea, when I left you, I went to Europe and she charged me for water and then charged me to piss too. I ain’t sayin’ she’s a gold digger but she ain’t messin’ with no broke n-words.  K, you were so kind that you never taxed my ass. You didn’t tax beer, you didn’t tax cigarettes, you didn’t tax meals. Goddamnit, you didn’t even tax my salary. I miss that feeling. The only two certainties in Korea, death and kimchi. Lately, I pay sales tax, income tax and all that stuff George was talking about on “Taxman”. That’s another thing I miss. I miss downloading things at the speed of light. Remember that time I downloaded the entire Beatles discography in 2 hours? Or how about when I got the first three seasons of 30 Rock in one day while I was at school? Over here, I’ve been trying to download Freaks & Geeks for a week and I’m still at 14.7%.  K, you never gave me less than 110%. Well, you did enroute to completion but I always knew you’d get there. Here and now, I can’t be so sure. It’s gotten to the point I’m thinking about (gulp) buying the dvd. You see what I’ve been reduced to?  I blame you K.  I was in the city the other day and I flagged down a taxi. I walked up to the door and instinctively tried to pull the handle from the top like I did with every one of your cabs for the past 18 months.  But I couldn’t grab it from the top because of it’s awful design.  Where there should have been a hole for my hand to slip in, there was metal. I stood there in the rain for a few seconds examining the door handle and cursing the moron who chose to go with a handle that could only be opened from the bottom.  Thanks for making me reach down and come back up to open the door you putz. K, you’ve got some short people over there but you also realized that the average person is taller than the fuckin door handle on a taxi.  So, you offered a choice on how to open that door. Wanna pull from the top? No problem. Bottom? Whatever floats your boat.  God, I miss you. You were so efficient. Sure, you were a little screwy sometimes but who isn’t ? I was sick the other day and I went to the doctor. This guy charged me a cool 20 bucks like it was nothing. Then, the medicine cost another 13 bucks. I got misty-eyed and thought of you and me and our arrangement, 3 bucks for doc, 3 bucks for meds. Plenty left over for a night on the town.  Speaking of soirees, I went out here the other night and it was so weird. These “bars” here close at 2am. Nerds. By the way, over here, HOF stands for Hall of Fame, I thought that was kind of cool. If they only knew. First Ballot, son. I sure miss getting wasted for 10 bucks. Those 3000 CC pitchers are not that common here. God knows I’ve been looking, but I guess I’ve been missing them.

___________________________________________________________

Smart.
Idiotic.
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