Friday, January 2, 2009

A simple misunderstanding

When an attempt was made on my life in the form of a foodborne Ebola virus on New Year's Eve, my coworkers, Sung Jin, and my principal, Mr. Kim were all very concerned. Whilst laying aquiver in bed in between violent bouts of vomit and fecal expulsion, I had a lot of time to soul search. I thought to myself that many a person has been on the business end of food poisoning before, so why were they so concerned about lowly ole' me? I could understand why Sung Jin was concerned. I mean, he was the henchmen that delivered the near fatal oral dose of contaminated poultry. I think their over-the-top concern spawned from the fact that I may have over sold the whole thing through a graphic rudimentary monologue coupled with Pictionary!
styled theatrics. But Dude, you can see my concern as I wanted to make sure they sent me home. This would ensure that I would never have to weaken the journalistic merit of my blog by posting a message with the title of "I shit myself in class today!" complete with a 20 picture web album.

On New Year's Day, the day after I left school early to recover at the luxurious Changpo Freetel, Mr. Kim called me.

Mr. Kim: "Garren, this is your principal. Open your door. I am knocking on the door"
Me: "Umm. Ok. I don't hear anything but I will check."
Mr. Kim: "Why aren't you opening your door?"
Me: "The door is open. Where are you?"
Mr. Kim: "It's polite Korean culture to open the door."
Me: "I'm sure it is. I understand that but where are you?"

He then hung up the phone and left me in complete bewilderment until he called back two minutes later.

Mr. Kim: "Garren, I want to see if your condition has improved. Come out to the front of your
Me: "Ok. See you out front."
Mr: Kim: (hangs up the phone)

So I cruise around my tiny apartment building several times looking for my principal. I don't see him and then text Yuna to explain the situation seeing as I don't have Mr. Kim's phone number nor do I have caller ID. I also figured I'd have a loose "hey I tried" alibi the following morning.

I'm well aware that this looks bad on my behalf. Foreigners, no matter how seemingly well behaved and squeaky clean, have been pegged as HIV carrying, obesity ridden, unemployable philanderous whores through the bias media and, to an unmeasurable effect, by our Budweiser guzzling, flag waving boys representing our armed services in Seoul. So when Mr. Kim showed up at my joint when I'd been sent home the day previous with a potentially life ending strain of squirty-ass, and I wasn't there, I'm sure he assumed the worst. I knew I had it in for me when I came into work on Friday.

I waltzed into work at 9:30 a.m, while not a minute early, is still not a minute late. The office phone rings at 9:33 a.m (I wonder if he was counting down the minutes before he got to reem round-eye) and one of the non-English speaking staff answers the phone speaking in Korean, points at me, says "Mr. Kim", and points downstairs. An obvious world class Pictionary! player if I've ever seen one, I get the hint and roll down to Mr. Kim's office.

Resisting all urge to greet him sarcastically with a "Sup hoss?", I lead with the somewhat calculated, somewhat manufactured, and all but forced, "Anyyunghayseyo Mr. Kim." He looks at me from behind pursed lips, and even more pursed eyes, and says that he is very angry with me. I explain the situation that I was indeed at my house between the hours of 3 p.m and 10 p.m, and in the most subtle way that I could without tossing the issue of senility into the equation, suggested that he may have been knocking at the door of the wrong apartment. "Changpo Freetell, four-zeo-six, right?" he said. I agreed, and thought to myself, that I think I should know where I live. After all, I have a key to the place and I leave my collection of porn there, which according to me, and the state of Montana for that matter, qualifies me for residency. Unless I've been inadvertently jerking it at my neighbors for the past two month, I'm most definitely right on this one. And if I'm wrong, then I've got some pretty understanding neighbors.

The situation diffuses as it became apparent that his whole "anger" bit was about as thinly veiled as a presidential campaign promise. He finally cracked a smile and says he was just very anxious in reference to my situation and glad that the plum tea he made cured me of my ailments. I knew he couldn't stay mad at me. This is the same man that refers to me exclusively as "his son", feeds me with his chopsticks at the dinner table, and pimps me out to student's parents for special dinners as a blue eyed ambassador for Masan Seo Middle School. It would be like Sigfried or Roy without that killer tiger beast that is both feared and loved at the same time. Who's beauty would they admire from afar? Who would they teach tricks to (Korean curse words)? Who would they feed table scraps to? I knew he could only stay mad at me for so long. Think about it. This whole situation was me apologizing all over myself for being at my house at the time I specficied and apologizing for another person's inability to find it. That's culture for ya.


Colette Reid said... what apartment did he show up at? He was just completely lost? I must say, your vocabulary is amazing and this read was great...even though I am a little confused at the end! What an experience this food poisoning has been for you! It sounds like the principal loves you so much he would have helped you wipe your ass if you would have asked!
Nice writing!

Melissa said...

hahahahaha! Feeds you from his chop sticks!