Wild Goose Chase

Today was a mad goose chase to find a phone. Apparently, it's become a necessity, because I can't enter my building without phoning the guard (the school has yet to have a proper intercom or door bell system); not something I'm particularly happy about. But what can I do? That's the way it is. I am not going to blubber. I'm just going to accept the reality that a phone gets me out of the cold and into the building. So with this very logical frame of reference, I left with Damian and Jim to the KT phone store for foreigners.

It was exciting to be outside of my 10 block comfort zone. I kept looking at the stores. The hundreds of billboards I couldn't read. The people. The way they dressed. My God, their clothes! You wouldn't believe it. So charming!! I mean, I'm no Michael Koors or anything, but I could use a couple little outfits like that. Especially the teddy bear hats. Most of the kids had them. I wanted one too.

"They were the rage last Winter," Damian explained. "Everyone had them."

"I like that they're pink," I told him.

"Yeah," he agreed. "I've thought about getting one myself."

"Man," I pat Jim on the back. "Can you imagine me rocking L.A. in the Summer with that pink little doo hickey? I'd be the bomb!"

"Yes," Jim smiled. "You would."

Jim smiled for a bit after that. I'm glad. He seemed to be ready for a nap or food. (You can tell this about friends you've known for years. It's like a Spidey sense.) Luckily, there was a fried squid vendor closeby. I had us all in squid heaven in a matter of minutes. It was the least I could do. And besides, if I didn't feed these two, hungry teachers during a wild goose chase in my honor, I was pretty sure I would be eaten or beaten for lack of nourishment.

"Don't go into the store and say "What's up? Do you speak English?" all loud like that. It'll make people less likely to help you out, if they can," Jim warned after we had no luck at our third mobile store. "You got to be soft."

"I'm just being me, Jim."

"Yeah, I know. But you got to be softer."

That's the strangest thing I have ever heard. I am not one to argue though. If talking softer is going to help accomplish my mission for a phone, then I'll be softer. I have no problem with that. Of course, I know deep down my heart will come through any misaligned communication, and that if I truly want to make this year fine and dandy learning some Korean language would serve me best of all.

Tonight will be my chance. I hit the town with some students. I wonder what I'll learn. I'll tell you tomorrow.



P.S. Obviously, we didn't get the phone. A guy from KT (a Korean phone company) said to come back on Friday. That sounded shady to me. But call me "leaf." I fall when I'm supposed to.


JWG said...

You said what you thought was a nice thing. It was a nice thing. This is what the guy heard, “Bla blibidl blaoppolru!” Even if he can speak English, and that is a long shot, it is even a longer shot that he will get what you are saying with “what's up”. You start out slow. Let him show you some of his English and then adapt your language so that he gets it. We are trying to communicate. We are trying to meet our non English speaking friends more than half way. You can tell so much just by the way a Korean says “hello”. In that little thing you can hear confidence or fear or comfort. Give them a chance and then go slow or fast or hard or soft as need be. Ain't no thing but a chicken wing, my friend. We will rock this.

Pirooz M. Kalayeh said...

Yes, rock 'n' roll is with me to the end.