I almost got into a fight this past Saturday. Well, let me put this the right way. I wasn't planning on fighting, but there was an altercation on the tennis courts. I had asked a guy moving through our courts to close the gate behind him since we had dogs running around. At first, he complied. After I asked him a second time, he got hissy though. He asked me to come stand in his face, so I did. I stood there and remembered how the last time I was in this situation, I had gotten into a bar brawl when I was 23. Thankfully, the fact that I will be turning 32 in a couple weeks, might have given me the youthful wisdom to simply say, "I'm sorry. There's been a misunderstanding."
Once his bark was used up, he left the court. Then the lot of us that play tennis on Sundays, discussed how what I said could have been misconstrued. According to the native Koreans who were present, my request was not polite enough. They said that if I had ended the phrase, "Can you close the gate?" with 'please' that the situation wouldn't have escalated. I'm not so sure though. Sometimes I feel like people have got you on their shit list no matter what you do or say. Then the only thing is to grin as cutely as you can, and hope they figure out that their anger has nothing to do with you.
I'm glad I was able to diffuse the situation. In the future, I will be sure to say 'please'. It may go against my rebellious nature, but I am cool with being a rebel for peaceful resolutions. As my friend, Darek, remarked about certain altercations I have related to him about Korea: "You are such a diplomat." Who knows? Maybe, that is where I'll head in some capacity. I do like seeing stressful situations come to resolution. It's like working on an art piece that has no clear end point. It could go completely to shit, or suddenly turn majestic. I guess I like to see myself wander between these two extremes. I would like it to lean more heavily on the majestic side, but going to shit has its benefits too. I do get to see how I've been an idiot.
In the tennis altercation, I would say I was a bit too bossy and snooty about the whole affair. It wasn't necessarily wrong, but I can see that if I'm going to remain in a culture that is not mine, that I will have to find a good compromise. I can say 'please'. I can even say 'thank you' on cue. Just watch me grow into a Congressman. It could happen. I would probably run in Minnesota. I don't know why. Maybe, because Minnesota sounds purty. Then again, I could just be psychic and see the future. That's been known to happen.
Yesterday, I went to see "Kung Fu Panda" with my students. As the film was about to begin, one of my students passed me her cell to show me a pic of her dog. "If I had a dog like that, I would name it Cookie," I said.
"What?" she said. "My dog's name is Cookie."
I have been in a lot of strange moments like that really. I'm not quite sure what to make of it. I'm not sure if I believe in psychic abilities, and I certainly haven't had any sort of inclinations down that road in that past, but there seems to be a shift in that direction. Tonight I had another moment like that, when I asked my colleague whether she played the clarinet in her high school band.
"I played the flute," she said. "Why did you ask that?"
"I'm psychic," I said.
"Yeah," she laughed me off. "I played first chair all through high school and college. It was a big part of my life."
"Man, I wish I had said flute. I could have gotten that right."
Maybe, I'm not psychic. I am going to be 32 in two weeks though. I will be flying to L.A. on the first of July, and then my birthday will land octagonally on the 11th. I think I will throw a party for myself. Anyone is invited to the festivities. I think I'll open a video conference with anyone who's anyone. We can pretend I am a Congressmen or even a cowboy. I think a cowboy would be better. The Persian cowboy. He owns a turban and a gun. He's coming to theaters near you. Hide your saffron. Turn up your amplifiers. I am coming for a song and dance. I might even smile and show you my silver tooth. If you're lucky, I'll tell you about my date with Sasperella in the moonlight of Albuquerque. We had seven daughters lined up to receive Sheikh Bashamuddin. He asked for a recitation. I told him that spirit runs into desert heat/melts meat with strangers/ stuffs pockets with sulfur/ streets of Itaehwon/ turned inside out.