Monday, February 23, 2009

Materialism! Documenting Materialism!

Friday night I ended up staying in even though I told everyone I would go see Keiko's Last Smile (with TWO bassists) at Psycho. For those of you less apt at figuring out obscure band names, Keiko's Last Smile is a tiny expat band of no significance whatsoever but they are fun to watch and listen to if you have a few beers in you. It's just that, knowing I had to get up for work the next day made me completely unwilling to go out, even if I was home by midnight. So I ate dinner locally with a friend at a restaurant I hadn't been in since the night I arrived in Korea. It was a lot more fun when I wasn't delirious with jet lag and using my boss's 12 year old daughter as a pseudo interpreter. We got galbi, some part of the cow, marinated in a sweet and savory sauce and cooked over hot coals at the table. One of the best things about dishes like galbi is that you order 2 portions of meat, maybe a bowl or two of rice and they still cover the rest of the table with interesting side dishes that vary seasonally. My favorite winter dish is a sour radish dish, paper thin slices of radish soaked in a sauce and oh so tasty. Anyways, back to the story, one of the dishes is a crab stewed in some sort of interesting sauce that's a bit spicy. I personally only eat them occasionally because I find it nearly impossible to maneuver with chopsticks and just too much effort when there is a table full of other dishes I could eat instead. My friend on the other hand had never had it and enthusiastically attacked it with chopsticks and sucked away at the meat. Two minutes later he burst into hives and made strange clicking noises with his throat as he tried to clear it. For he is most definitely allergic to nuts. Not peanuts, but nuts of any kind will cause rather unpleasant reactions.

Me: ....Oh my dear God are you okay?!
Salsa boy: Absolutely! I'll be fine in a minute!
Me: Errrrr, are you sure? Because you have these red bumps around your mouth and are making really disturbing noises...
Salsa boy: No really, it's okay. I'll just eat some kimchi!
Me: Yes, because that makes SO MUCH SENSE. Seriously, I can run to the pharmacy and get you a benadryl, it's like 10 feet from the restaurant door.
Salsa boy: NO. No, I'm okay, see, spicy food helps!

He proceeded to shovel kimchi into his mouth and make disturbing noises with his throat and left me CONVINCED he was going to keel over and die (even though logically I knew he wasn't showing signs of going into anaphylactic shock).
This is a classic example of me, worrying gone overboard though in this case I did have legitimate stimuli telling me 'Warning! Danger ahead!'

After that epic event, I went home, checked my email and went to bed really early. Well, 10:30. Early for a 22 year old on a Friday night in any case.

Saturday was made of exhaustion even though it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. I still think graduation from KINDERGARTEN with this sort of pomp and circumstance is ridiculous but it seems to be a country wide trend which made me feel marginally better. What I want to know is that if this is how long a ceremony for kindergarten graduation is, what on earth do Koreans do for college/university?! I must ask one of my Korean friends about this at a later date. I went out for a few drinks after dinner and again, called it an early night. Nothing like keeping high strung six and seven year old children calm, happy, and quiet to wear you out. I walked up and down lines with a gigantic jar of lolly pops and said:

"Mmmm. Yummy lollipops. You want one? You have to be quiet. What's this? Talking, you don't want a lollipop?! More for me?"

I had the most quiet lines. Worth every penny for that jar. Plus I get to eat the left overs. *sucks away merrily on a pineapple flavored lolly.*

Finally, the event we've all been waiting for...the descent into Materialism! Sunday afternoon I hung out with Salsa boy again. Mainly because we have similar tastes in books. So we split what we buy with promises to share/lend what the other bought. To be perfectly honest, I tend to be a little pushy in book choices.

Salsa boy: This Vonnegut looks interesting, could be an interesting alternative to Slaughterhouse 5.
Me: No, I want Slaughterhouse.
Salsa boy: Are you sure? Because this one looks good too...
Me: No! Death is interesting! Oooooooooooooooo shiny, did you see this one. It won a Pulitzer Prize. See, it has a shiny label!
Salsa boy: hmmm...what about Hemingway!
Me: But shiny! Also, my friends read it for a course in college, I can't remember Which course but I've wanted to read it since then only I didn't have time. Or money. And I hate other people's marginalia. It's usually bad. Or illegible. Or distracting. OR ALL THREE. So obviously I couldn't borrow their copy and thus I've NEVER READ IT! It's TRAGIC!
Salsa boy: Pulitzer prize winner it is!

The Pulitzer prize winning book is A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. It doesn't really have a shiny label announcing it's win but it does have a big bold strip across the cover in another color which is Practically the same thing.

I also tend to read the books I want first. Salsa boy tried to start reading Slaughterhouse 5 but I reminded him that he STILL owes me the Gabriel Garcia Marquez book, Love in the Time of Cholera and he is not allowed to start another novel until he finishes. It is true that I will probably finish both books before I get the Marquez book but it isn't my fault that I read like a freak.

We left What the Book and went to Myeongdong to attempt to look for jeans. It took me 4+ hours to find one pair of jeans. Korean girls don't have hips. At all. I finally ended up in a Ralph Lauren store of all places and got a pair that fit me. American sizing but made in Turkey with a label sewn in Korean next to that to explain the washing in Korean. I think. I got lots of fun stuff from street vendors and boutiques in between despairing of ever finding a pair of jeans before mine ripped in two. Like a fantastic black fedora, turquoise wallet, funky shiny black head band, knee socks and yummy street food.

Where are the pictures you say? LOOK.

....The length of this post reminds me that I should refrain from writing while on a ridiculous sugar high from eating lollipops non stop for an hour. Just maybe.

These pictures are care of Salsa Boy, as it is a bit difficult to take pictures of myself. Also, I'm too ADD while shopping to remember to take pictures of things while there are so many interesting things to look at.


Seth K said...

Great hat, are those your new jeans?

Nancy K said...

Great hat, great jeans. Brava kiddo for actually buying some clothing! Street scene is fascinating. More pictures like that would be appreciated.

Jessica said...

Haha, I think you should write on a sugar high MORE often. After a really long day of homework and school that was hilarious. I just have this image of you with a lolly almost ping ponging back and forth in your tiny apartment. Oh and in other news, I went to my first climbing comp (bouldering) and placed 6th. I didn't tear up my hands thanks to Rob's magic anti-sweaty palms gel and uber chalk.