Thursday, June 26, 2008

fine me?

Because of my jetlag, I’ve been sitting in bed watching tv shows online at 3 am. My current one is Secret Diary of a Call Girl. It's not exactly pornographic... because it has a plot. hah. But there's something intriguing watching this character have sex with a succession of repulsive men. I haven’t figured out if I’m feeling disgust or fascination or what, but I wanted to keep watching it til I figured it out.

Anyway, today while watching an episode on a website with streaming vids and Chinese subtitles, a small chat box popped up next it. At first I thought it was a computer generated ad, but five minutes in, I realized it was an actual conversation. There were only 2 participants. Anon5532 and Cindy12.

Anon5532 was asking Cindy how old she was.
Anon5322 said he was 22
cindy12 said oh jeez I’m only 16
anon5532: ok.
Inadvertently no longer paying attention to the show. ("ok"?!)

He said he was a carpenter from Netherlands named Dirk.
Dirk the carpenter was at home because he had a cold and he was “coughing” and “lonely.”
anon4196: are you on facebook?
cindy12: yupyup. why.
anon4196: what is yours profile?
anon4196: I want to fine you.
anon4196: what is yours profile?
anon4196: I’ll fine you.
don’t type back cindy12.
anon4196: what’s your name so I fine you?
NONONONO. RAWR. don’t let him fine you!!!

but she gave her name (first and last!) and said that she was from X town in Texas.
he asked her what she was doing awake
she said she was watching diary of a call girl.

My first thought was oh goodness me too and at the same time, isn’t she young to be watching this and wow I’m so old to be thinking like that. And then I imagined how many other people were awake at 3 am looking at this chat box instead of diary of a call girl and hitting their computers NONONONO.
And of these people how many were signing into facebook and trying to find if either of these people existed and who were they.
And then of those people, how many were loading up their chainsaws to drive to X town in Texas to find cindy12. I didn’t do so well in stats class, but I don’t think the probability is that low.

Anyway dirk and cindy12 signed off to talk more “privately”. And I was left with the sick feeling of ugh. clear disgust.

Maybe I have too much of an imagination or I’m not being fair. Who says strangers can’t meet or chat. It could be simple, he really is a Dutch carpenter who’s lonely and sick and wants to see happy cute pictures of sweet 16 year olds. That’s not so bad.

Maybe she’s not 16, maybe she’s 61. Maybe she’s not a she but a he... or neither. She could be one of those women in Albania the NY Times wrote about who become men for life and take charge of the family when there’s a male shortage. (aren’t there fish that do that? it’s a really good article to read by the way). maybe they’re a husband and wife playing games. maybe they're future soulmates. maybe he's a patient lying in a hospital bed, hoping on a whim to find a stranger that could be his kidney donor. maybe maybe.

Sigh. meh still, I hope he didn’t “fine her”.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

pebbles in your tea

Since being in Korea, I have learned that to be considered an ideal female, or at least a house-trained one, doesn't mean losing the ability to think, but actually increasing thinking ability to include not only oneself, but the possible needs of everyone else. everyone being men.

The perfectly run house could probably be compared best to a model of the solar system. The male head of the house is like the sun or whatever, and every female is just a planet / piece of astro dust making revolutions around him. (if i want to keep going with the metaphor, I guess I could be pluto. The furthest one that was thought to be a planet but then actually just turned out to be... a dwarf planet / random spherical object and banished from that cool mnemonic about pizzas and eager mothers). haha eager mothers.

anyways, this means that sweaters are laid out on beds, pillows are fluffed, chairs are pulled out, shoes are straightened, water bottles are handed over uncapped, (having to make the wrist motion of turning a water bottle top is a strain I'd never realized before), tissues are kept on hand just in case sniffles are heard,
but all is done with the fluidity and ease of falling down.

My relatives used to brag that they were so progressive because in their family, the men preferred having daughters. Well now I know why, who wouldn't want more free help...

And so I've learned that the key to being a successful housewoman is anticipation. Which doesn't seem that amazing, but actually, it is a superpower:

An average person (a sane person?) wakes up in the morning and opens the window to see that it's a nice day and thinks: "yay, oh look it's sunny."

Successful house-trained female's monologue is slightly different (thought in the same amount of time that average person takes to go "yay oh look..."):
"oh look, it's sunny. which means he will probably want a glass of juice an hour than he usually does because he will be hot sooner, so I should probably take out the oranges now, and will he sweat because then I should probably switch the sofa pillowcase covers to the non-flowered ones because laundry isn't going to be for another few days and."

Super senses I tell you!
And scarily, given a few more weeks, it could be a less than foreign possibility.

Before, when setting the table I'd have innocently seen a fork, I will instead see the length of the stem and wonder at the angle that it would be held, and if that would hinder the time it would take to eat off a plate at lunch and so then would he be a few minutes late for his afternoon show, because then the pillow's fluff won't have held up by the end.
conclusion: fluff pillow again. or perhaps, switch fork.


Last sunday, singing a hymn, in the middle of the 2nd verse, my grandfather accidentally skipped to the 3rd. everyone else automatically followed. While, slow me, struggling to keep up in korean, just assumed what I was hearing was just my wrong reading. At the end I was left singing hesitantly for a few words by myself, until I swallowed them at everyone's confused stares. I felt like that boy in A Wrinkle in Time who couldn't bounce the ball or jump rope in sync with the other children.

ending with happy thoughts: i saw more funny t-shirts (^-^)
"I asked God for love and I got you. I asked God for a river and he gave me an ocean. let us swim. perhaps."
"make war. maybe love. someday."
"they are not looking at your face, they are staring at your queer glasses."

and my dark favorite:
"suicide hotline. please hold."

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

just say yes

the things I've learned in korea:

1) soju is a beverage. Not a painful alcoholic poison. It's a beverage, meant to be slowly sipped and savored with dinner, especially with items such as meat (not beef, which koreans are protesting) but like say, chicken kalbi or pork. the glass is also never supposed to be empty, trickily, not because you're not drinking, but because you're drinking it so often that it gets refilled constantly. It is considered cheating to hide one's glass. This is usually punished, "rewarded" with more soju.

2) formal speech rules, which were carefully broken apart and explained to me, in every possible scenario. Formal speech usage is just confusing, so I've decided to just use it all the time. Apologies to everyone I've inadvertently disrespected.

3) learning to say yes, i've learned that my relatives hate the word ok. I guess they have a point, as a response it doesn't really mean anything. But really, the korean word for "yes" sounds like a goat bleating when it's said too often or in succession, which is what I usually have to do.

My grandfather, who's a minister, has various complaints or directions for me, which is included in every dinner and morning prayer. It's a little disconcerting to be referred to in the 3rd person.

But the prayers are kind of helpful, it's like a very passive aggressive way that I can learn exactly what is wrong with me.

"Dear Father, ....4 minutes pass.... please help our catherine be a better christian and a better daughter. Help her grow taller and wiser under you and ... She does not clean her room very well... help her do this."

The first supper:
grandfather: "You, you are too skinny."
oh wow thank you.
"No, that's not thank you."
oh. sorry, :force feeds self:.
"American girls. grumble grumble. Starving themselves, that's not a "Lady". males, males, they like the "ba-boom"...
"you know, something to hold." Gestures a violent shaking motion.
o.o hopefully in a prayerful context? oh ok.
"O-kay? what is that? you are going to eat?"
yes grandfather.

After the first supper, I learned to just say yes.

"Eat that, you are too short."
yes grandfather.

"eat that, why are your legs all banged up, that's not a lady."
from kneeling because i pray so often. haha?
yes grandfather.

"eat that, it'll make you smarter and maybe taller."
:goat bleating:.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

touch the hands

... of my clock.

my favorite shirt that i've seen in korea so far. it sounds so cute and somewhat dirty at the same time, it's amazing. that and, "live in your eyes, die in your lap, breathe in your heart".

it is a little sad that my impression of korea is so shallow as cute shirts, but really there are so many. i've bought a collection, with my 2 second decision time of "AGH CUTEEE" completely overshadowing any reason or sense that I should never be allowed to wear a shirt with a doll on it that says "find me a garden... nearby. far away. clouds are my love, are you? " If I did wear them in new york, I'd probably be used as target practice by taxi cabs. But really, I can't resist.

I think Korea is so amazing and beautiful, but I know exactly what this feeling is. It's the honeymoon phase of the relationship, where everything is so right and even the faults are endearing. the constant soundtrack of "opppaaaa. WHINE" sounds cute, and being elbowed by a halmoni on the street is like a kiss from heaven. (that should be a shirt. "kissed by heaven").

i finally got my hair fixed today, it's back to black, for which my relatives are very grateful.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

a bear walks into a bar

I'm trying not to fall asleep so I won't miss my flight.
The past couple of days, I've been re-visiting korean dramas (aghh why) and listening to epik high mvs as prep for Korea. Hopefully soon soon I will be in Korea and free to begin my mission to find So Ji Sup.

Today I was trying be more self-sufficient, which basically turned into me wandering financial district trying to find a hardware store. I figured that if I kept walking, eventually there'd have to be one. It was kind of smart, except that I was also carrying boxes. I could barely see over the top of them, so I guess I kept going in circles. All the construction sites looked the same, and every few blocks or so, I'd hear "Oh look, it's the box with legs again."

I tried asking people for directions, but it turned into like a strange joke. I don't know if it's just because of lack of good sleep where everything sounds dirty, but I couldn't help feeling embarrassed every time I asked, "Do you know where I can find hardware? tool boxes?" just sounds wrong.

After an hour, I did finally find a hardware store. I felt relieved and happy that I wasn't completely useless, that lasted until I got back to my apartment and slowly realized that just buying the stuff wasn't enough, I actually had to fix / put things together. yea... i don't know how i forgot that.

Later I went to hear david sedaris read at Barnes and Noble. It was crazy, everyone packed in trying to hear him speak. He was so funny and basically just so charming. at the end he told a lot of bad jokes, A bear walking into a bar was one of them.
"the bear says i'd like a beer .... and a bag of peanuts." and the bartender says, "why the big pause?"
^-^ I thought it was funny.

As I was leaving, had one of those accidental stare downs with a stranger, 'strange staring'. Usually it's because I'm not paying attention and I just seem like I'm giving the eye to people. But this time it was cause he was standing at the foot of the escalators and as it was going down closer and closer, i was thinking oh how cruel intentions and lalala what happened with ryan phillippe anyway, and did that soldier movie ever come out... and then realized i was 'strange staring'.

He asked if i'd care to update him on current pop culture like somewhere. yea exact words. It was kind of endearing, but too perfect and anyway current pop culture where to begin?
on the subway home, i thought maybe in a parallel universe, I'd have said yes and then hopped on a bicycle to 'like somewhere' and it would have been nice 'updating current pop culture' except we'd turn out to be cousins or half-siblings and then one of us would die of cancer, but then the other would kill themselves right after anyway, so both would be dead. yay the end.

this is what happens from watching too many korean dramas.