Well, this was an excessively busy weekend.
On Friday night I hurried up to Seoul… My saxophone was being repaired at a shop in the famous music market there, called Nagwon Sanga, and I’d been too busy (or sick, depending on when we’re talking about) to go pick it up. I needed to get my saxophone so that I’d have it on hand for the K-Rock festival (sorry, can’t find a link for it!) audition that Dabang was playing on Saturday.
It turned out, as I heard via a phone call on the bus, that the K-Rock audition wasn’t in the evening, as I’d supposed, but in the afternoon. That cut my trip to Seoul short by a few hours, so I hurriedly rearranged my plans with my Seoulite friend Sun Hwa, and we met at the Express Bus Terminal. Sun Hwa and I usually meet for coffee when I go to Seoul and I’m often amazed at what a good friend she has become, after a short time and mostly email back and forth. Sometimes you meet people and it seems to you as if you were supposed to meet them… I don’t literally believe in that sort of thing, but I feel that way with some of my friends. Sun Hwa’s one of them. We had a long talk over coffee, and I luckily checked my phone’s clock in time to notice it was basically time for me to go to Jeonju! Sun Hwa saw me off, and the next thing I knew, I was on a bus heading south again, to this place that doesn’t yet feel like home.
I almost forgot: at the bus station, an older man ran up to the counter where I was buying my ticket, and pushed me… not hard enough to be violent, but certainly hard enough to be rude… and then he started insisting his ticket be changed before the lady finished selling me my ticket! So I started yelling at him. Now, this is not my usual behaviour, but lately my fuse has been a little short with people who are needlessly being inconsiderate. The older man, for no reason other than his own self-importance and perhaps a bit of a rush, decided he was going to jump ahead of me in line, and make me and all the people behind me wait.
Well, I wasn’t going to stand for that. So I started yelling at him in rather rude language. Now, my thinking is this: the man is used to having his way, having people tolerate his selfish behaviour, simply because the right of older males is secured by Confucian thought. But, there is an implicit reciprocal responsibility which many older males of the kind I was yelling at simply disregard. It’s a case of the older-male’s-burden, except they manage to enjoy the benefits of primacy but not much of the costs. This, of course, is absolutely ridiculous, as much of a betrayal of Confucian thought (as I understand it) as absolutely abandoning it altogether. And so, I am quite willing to abandon it altogether. With older males who exhibit dignity, compassion, openness, wisdom, and so on, I am quite happy to generally defer to them socially; but with an older male who acts like an animal, I am quite willing to act like a barbarian.
And so I began hollering at the man: “Yaa! Yaa! Wae geurae?” (“Hey! Hey you! Why are you acting like that!”… well, but imagine Hey you! being much more offensive, something one says to peers when angry, or to little children but never to elders…). The man didn’t seem to realize I was yelling at him for a few moments… a younger person addressing him this way didn’t seem to even make a blip on the radar. After that, I yelled at him a rhetorical question, “Can’t you wait?” The man responded that he wasn’t buying a new ticket, he was changing a ticket, and it’s indicative of how angry I was that I cannot remember if he said this in Korean or in decipherable Konglish.
I felt badly for Sun Hwa, who was standing beside me, because as a younger Korean woman, this kind of scene is probably somewhat embarrassing for her. She looked at me and asked me to calm down, and I did after a few moments and a repetition of my question. And what the ticket attendant said next made me furious again… he asked something along the lines of, “Could you please wait sir, he’s a foreigner, you know?” I wanted to holler, “No, it’s not about me being a foreigner, it’s about him behaving like an animal and goddammit, there are other people behind me in this line who are special, this man is not special and he should wait like anyone else, can’t you see that? How can you ever expect democracy to function with all this ludicrous patriarchy floating around?” But of course nobody would understand it except Sun Hwa, and I’m certain she already basically knew what I was thinking… so then I shut up, bought the ticket, gave the man a nasty look, and walked away.
Anyway, a few hours later the nasty old man was nowhere to be seen, and with Stereolab looping in my ears I was in a bus plummeting back to Jeonju. I stopped by my apartment to get my sax mic, and then hurried to Led Zeppelin where we played the song Late Afternoon Grass for our audition. It went okay, though as usual the sax levels were screwed and someone who didn’t know what he was doing was working the sound board.
Anyway, after that I went with an Iksan friend of mine, Jon, and a friend of his, to the Deep-In, Jeonju’s “foreigner bar.” We had nowhere else interesting to go, but when we arrived the staff was cleaning up from the night before. Anyway, a few long talks, especially a very good one with a guy I work with, Shawn De Long, brought me to being the last customer out of the place when he and I split a cab home. That was at 5:00 am.
The next day, at about 12:00pm, I rose to go to Iksan. I met with Young Ja, had lunch, and talked. Then we met up with Mi Seok and had a coffee. It was the first time Young Ja and Mi Seok met and the funniest thing was they both expected someone rather different from the person they met. But it was a pleasant coffee. After that, Young Ja took off for Jeonju and Mi Seok and I saw a fascinating movie that I’m sure I’ll have more to say about this week, Scandal (which is a Korean version of Dangerous Liasons… or, the superior Valmont… set in what seems to be very late in the late Joseon Dynasty). After that, we found a dungeon-sized rest-hof and had some beer and fruit and just talked for a few hours.
After that, I came back to Jeonju; I got to my house around 11:00pm, and basically collapsed. That, my friends, was a full weekend. Whew.