I was listening to Jah Wobble’s album of William Blake-inspired music, which starts with this track:
Doing a little more investigation, I found a neat interview with Wobble from around the time he put that out. He talks a lot about the struggle to balance anger and integrity with the mental, emotional refreshment and grounding that one needs in order to be creative:
He’s right: a certain degree of anger and honesty is energizing, but too much of it will just embitter you, and I know I’m certainly on the unbalanced side of it — and I know how it can poison your creativity. When Wobble needed time off, he went and drove tube trains on the London Underground. For me, at one point, the change of scenery that came with moving to Korea was the refreshment I needed.
Well, this afternoon Miss Jiwaku and I caught a train to go to Yongsan and watch Harry Potter in the IMAX, since my grading was all done and she had some time to kill before before a meeting tonight.
Predictably, right after writing what I consider is a pretty balanced and measured Year in Review post, a crazy bastard on the train was staring at us. Some would say I should have ignored him, but I’m tired of ignoring people staring, especially since it makes Miss Jiwaku uncomfortable. So I (very non-aggressively) shrugged and gave him a look like, “What?” or “Do I know you?”
Within about thirty seconds, he was shouting at me for being a crazy American GI spoiling for a fight, and when Miss Jiwaku told him I was Canadian, he claimed Canadians are “even rougher than Americans,” which he knew from his “travels abroad.” (Somehow I doubt he knows what he’s talking about, though the comparison was in any case nonsense.) She told him off a little, and he kept asking if I wanted to fight him or something, to which she pointed out he was bringing up fighting first. Eventually we moved to another car on the subway train, but you know what? It’snot just tiresome… it’s something that is happening with great regularity now.
And which never once happened to us in Jakarta though we spent almost every day outside for a couple of months solid. Miss Jiwaku, having lived there a year, said it’s just not the kind of thing that happened there to her, though barely a day goes by without some kind of unpleasant encounter on the subway. Me, I have found us in situations where crazy men were shouting and threatening us, for nothing, about once every two or three months, sometimes even more often.
What I am saying is what I’ve been saying over and over here, I think to make sure I don’t chicken out or something; I’m finding Korea to be less and less a place where I can enjoy my life, and these idiots who freak out on us every few months (or weeks, these days) seem to be making that even harder. Balanced is just not something one finds much of in Korea.
So, well… I’m running my one-second self-tests and checking my battery voltages:
Which reminds me, there is always room for that other kind of Countdown:
Trane went through a big break-away from how he’d lived before, too, sometime in his thirties. I guess it comes to everyone. Here change comes, with six caps in its revolve and my name is on everyone. Let’s see which direction they send me careening in this coming year.