Category: Surrealism

Ronnie James Dio RIP

Can’t even try to listen to his music for a long, long time.

Knew this would happen—his favorite food was spicy Indian curry—he especially loved it on tours.

He’ll live forever in the music and minds and hearts of all the fans throughout the world.


Games People Play

Wanted to continue drinking in Pocheon, so I decided to have a few beers. Some younger kids asked questions in English, wanting to drink and I was tempted to buy them booze because they were underage, but they left.

Talking to the girl who worked there in both Korean and English, I told her to take off her fat black plastic glasses without lenses because she looked better without them, so she took them. She was trying to tell me some word and I told her to write it down, and she said, “My name?” Then the restaurant owner and the wife returned, saying, “Oh, he speaks Korean?” about me and screaming at her for talking to me.

She smiled when she gave me another beer, afraid to linger near for even a second. When the owner and his wife left to deliver an order, I went to the counter to pay and gave her my name and number on a napkin. She stared at it as if she had no idea, so I told her to hide it, put it in her pocket. “My number?” she asked, and I said, “No, it’s okay, just text me. What are you doing Wednesday?” She explained that she was busy everyday, if not with work, than school. High school, in her second year!


Random Dinner

At dinner with my boss, the boss of the kindergarten, the boss of the local hapkido, and assorted spouses, I decided (once sufficiently drunk) to text some girls, see what they were up to. The conversation was entirely in Korean, and I was a little bored, deciding I needed to be occupied.

가진 called me (surprisingly) and though we only spoke for about two minutes, hearing her voice for the first time in a while… wow! “I miss you and want to see you,” I said, and her reply, “I know.” Had to stop myself from saying “I love you” when we said goodbye.

After text wars with another girl, my boss told me that the hapkido owner’s wife was angry because I was on the phone and that my behavior didn’t conform to proper manners. When I told her I was sorry, she said it was fine and that she just wants me to learn Korean super fast so I can speak to all of them. Oh, and when I said I needed to shave, stroking my face, my boss said, “Yes, please do!”


Much I can’t report from the weekend here, but I’ll mention this:

Walking home after drinking with a friend, five girls came out of a restaurant and asked where I was going, one of the girls stealing the Snickers bar I was eating and almost instantly devouring it. I told them I was going to my apartment, and they asked if I wanted to go drinking and if I liked chicken feet (which I told them I’d try). Then, when one of the girls said she was cold, I took off my coat and offered it to her, another girl complimenting my manners. Then I took off my dress shirt to only be in a t-shirt. The ringleader said she didn’t think I was handsome, and I was taken aback by that comment (the first time I’ve heard such here). I said aloud, “I’m not handsome,” in a shocked, small voice, then almost shouting. “I’m handsome!” Her four friends agreed quite vocally with my opinion, but said goodbye anyway.

Met my 70 year old mentors at 1PM for lunch and soju. The younger one said, “Drinking soju with you is delicious, Bryan.” We had coffee before I had to leave (they said they want to spend all day together—we’ve made plans to hang out the Sunday after next).

Arrived at class ten minutes late—a bit drunk and buzzed from the coffee. Class was good, albeit a little easy, and I took the subway with some new friends to get dinner, but already had plans with Ka Jin (who was half an hour late). I left to meet her.

Called her when she wasn’t outside, said she was on the bus. She called me when she arrived, said it was raining, so she bought an umbrella, which I think was lost in the course of the night.

We had smoked chicken and a pitcher of beer, and she showed me the list of words she must study for her English test on Monday, saying they give her a headache. We reenacted the dialogue from Korean class, which was funny. I told her about the other girl and she said, “Why care?” somewhat mad. She explained that it’s bad that I like her and I should go after the other girl because she’s too busy with school right now to have a boyfriend, even though she likes me and wants me to be her boyfriend. She still wants to be friends, and explained that her room is in a boarding house and that no boys are allowed, that the owner is a woman and would know. She still wants to visit Pocheon, but only if she can borrow her mother’s car and I laughed, told her not to say it was to visit me, but also that I want meet her mom when my Korean’s better, that her mom will like me, and she agreed.

We went to a Western bar next, where I had her try Sam Adams (which she liked—they always do) and then we had her favorite, Icehouse (har har)! Took her picture, but she covered her face cause “I’m shy girl.” Every other time we’d hung out, she paid for the first place and I the second, but this time she had no money and she felt bad. She said when she got money from her mother, she’d take me out for makkoli.

I feel like more of a kid with her than with anyone else, something I’m usually uncomfortable about as almost everyone tells me not to, but with her, it feels natural and free, a perfect revelation. She really is such a sweet and kind girl with a big heart, and I told her I want her to be happy and she said that she’s happy with me, that I make her laugh. I pat her head at the bar: “I’m not a dog.” She said she liked the back of her head to be rubbed, which I did on the subway: “Like a bear. Teddy bear’s are so cute.”

I think she is sophisticated even if she’s young, thus I’m uncertain about seeing the other girl. Ka Jin’s English has improved a lot in the small time I’ve known her, but I love her errors (text message): “yes (heart) ma prinse.”

What to write?

Met my new girl at midnight in Seoul after not expecting to see her this weekend because she was busy. Text her during my last class, said I was going drinking, and she was instantly interested, said my hometown was too far, that she wanted to drink (a little), but I had to come to her.

The usual text tag (70 or so messages in two hours) before I finally met her at the third subway station (she kept changing it). We went to a very busy bar and she explained that it was usually empty, but we had two beers there anyway. She told me she was happy to see me, saying she was fat and was once beautiful. I said, “You ARE beautiful!” she was so overcome with joy she hugged me and was beaming, “Thank you!”

We went to another place; it was deserted. We had something resembling dinner/a late night snack and soju, which always makes me a little nervous. She opened up a lot more, said she’d give me her heart once I could speak more Korean, and praised how good it was already. Everytime I wanted to say something, she said, “Korean!” and I did my best, the countless hours finally paying off, but not where I want to be yet.

We went to a final, lonely bar, and while we were writing song requests on napkins, some guy nearby started talking to us and some girl kept giving me the eye, and I her, so eventually I sat next to her while the guy talked to “my” girl. The new girl she said she was in publishing (her friend gave me his card). I showed her my new novel (I happened to have the second book along) and asked what she wanted with me: she said she didn’t know, and we discussed how Korean girls treat me like a toy because I’m a foreigner and she admitted that was the only reason she was talking to me. She said maybe she could help me with my book and asked why I didn’t have any books published yet. I told her I wanted to be a dad and get married soon and she seemed alarmed, “Only to Korean girl? Here in Korea?” The bar was closing and she wanted to give me her number (inevitable) but she didn’t know it and I couldn’t remember mine, but I called my phone with hers. Lilith was her name (made sure to get her Korean name as well), and she asked if I knew the story behind her Western name (I told her I did), then we were outside, looking for my girl.

The guy that had been with her pointed ahead, and I ran. She was totally trashed… just like last time. I coaxed her to the subway, said I wanted to take her home (she lives alone, not with her parents), and after going to the bathroom, she said she wanted to take a taxi home.  We had a trying moment on the stairs, me telling her I wanted to like her and her heavy drinking was preventing that, her saying she already really liked me and was sorry for her drinking. I said if she continued to drink so much that I’d only see her once more, but she was so drunk I don’t think she understood, and maybe I didn’t mean it forever, just in that moment.

She called me while I was on the subway to tell me she was home, and I told her I had her cigarettes. We had made a promise earlier in the night to hang out next Saturday at 6PM–not midnight, but most likely involving drinks nonetheless–we’ll see. She told me last time that she was a crazy girl, and she reiterated that tonight, explaining that she wasn’t just a little crazy but fully crazy (She’s learned a majority of her working Enlish from The Simpsons). I don’t know what her craziness means or how it affects how I feel about her. Last week she said I was a secret from her parents, but she somehow told her mother about me, that I was a “really good friend.” On the subway stairs I told her that maybe I wanted to love her (she was surprised), but maybe my heart is closed and tucked snuggly up inside and I’m not sure when it will be available again. In the meantime, I guess I’ll try to have fun, though my game is better now that my heart’s not in it…

Sushi on Sunday

Hung out with a Malaysian girl in Seoul and showed her around (though I doubt I did a good job).  We had a fun time, until I insisted on finding the teashop listed under the Ewha area in the 100 Best Seoul places. The guy at the university’s information desk called them and walked us to the corner, telling us to wait because a girl with long hair would meet us there.

She was Chinese, so my new friend and her spoke in Mandarin. The cafe owner asked our birthdays and birth times and wrote down a ton of information.  She took out a lamented sheet of prices and called the Chinese girl over, but then put it away when the girl didn’t come over. She then did a Tarot reading, saying, “Service,” while the Chinese girl translated it from Korean to Mandarin and my friend translated into English for me.

Once the reading was over the owner added 24,000 원 to the bill and walked away. My friend starting arguing with the Chinese girl and stood up, saying we’d only pay for our drinks. Once outside, she explained that the girl said she would have to pay for our readings if I didn’t. I usually am not good at reading people, but I knew something was off about the Chinese girl, even though she had a cute and innocent facade: both of us thought we could be her friend, but it just wasn’t to be. Also too bad that I had to say bye to my new friend when she was upset after we had spent such a nice day together. I hope she has fun during her remaining week in Korea.


At lunch with my boss today, and the lady worker saw me and said, “Foreigner, American, yeah, I know you.” Thought that was a little strange, and maybe even stranger when I got to the bank. A while ago I had lunch with some of the workers at the bank because one of the tellers wanted to “be familiar with me.” She’s then since transferred to a different location because she was doing such a great job. Went to the bank today after lunch and they introduced me to the new girl, who was nervous at first, but she shook my hand and I introduced myself. She said, “Bryan” in such a tone like they told her I slay a Minotaur once. One of the guys said, “Girlfriend,” and pointed to her, repeating it. Don’t need their help considering my terrible luck.

Final Friday in February, Hongdae, Club Day.

Looked first thing for Club Mansion, while not a part of Club Day, had excellent reviews online and the pictures of chandeliers and talk of an older, sophisticated crowd had me hooked enough to ask ten strangers and even go to the Police Station for directions: talked to six or seven officers, each new one more skilled at English, all clueless as to its location, saying it was new. They were friendly and appreciated my ever improving Korean, nodding and smiling when I answered, “Yes, I am alone.”

Decided fuck it, get a Club Day ticket and start drinking and dancing. Went to Q*vo, real hip hop, above M2. Only foreigner there, leaving after three Heinekens. Entranced by some pulsing underground house music, I was lured into a basement club—six or seven people including two people working the dancefloor, the dj and bartender. Introduced myself to the two foreigners, two Irishmen teaching English, one here two and a half years, the other six months. We each had another drink, then left together. Ended up at another club with a similar situation, some tall Irish guy yelling, “You guys are from Ireland?” I may be intense, but he was intensely CRAZY.

Left and went to another place, decided to settle there, hovering near the bar/tables/chairs. Met some guys from India and got their emails (not sure if/when I’d hang with them again) and then was rejected by every girl I asked to dance (in Korean, of course), two hands waving—just watching the action. Settled into a groove, talking to whatever girls approached. Really laid it out for one girl, telling her I’m a gentleman and she had to trust me because I’m always honest, until she said she missed her ex and showed me his picture on her phone—some blonde American—said he was too busy to see her.

“When did you break up?”

“Three days ago.”

Next! The Irish guys were like, “Yeah, man, you were talking to her for a long time, and I was, I don’t know, maybe forty minutes. Drank some more, talked to another girl, a third, I think, and then finally convinced the last girl to come outside so we could talk in private. Had her hold my beer as I pissed behind a car in the alley, then we talked for a while. I remember touching her face, which was when she didn’t think she was beautiful, said, “But I’m fat” which was not true at all. Asked if we were girlfriend/boyfriend and she said, “Maybe,” then yes (not like that really means anything), because, like last time, both of us were stupendously drunk. So drunk I couldn’t finish my beer before returning to the club, met some guy, her saying it was her boyfriend, then her brother, which is what I believe as he was extra friendly and liked me a lot. Then she said it was time to go and they got their stuff from a locker and left.

The Irish guys were gone, the Indians, everyone I had talked to, and I had no reason to stay. Got some juice from Family Mart and sat before the store, talking to a Korean girl who told me how utterly terrible Korean chicks are to foreigners, that they like the guys for a little while, merely fun for them, and they end it and break the guys’ hearts. Then these American guys came by with one of her Korean friends, and they were being nasty, “C’mon, baby,” and all kind of bullshit talk, one saying, “This kid’s about to pass out,” about me and that’s when my RAGE took charge: I stood up and told them to fuck off and get the fuck out. They left, and I told her I’d smash my bottle on the ground and no one would care and I did, I slammed it down hard, and nothing happened. She left with her Korean friend, wrote her name down to friend her on facebook—she’s already given me the inside perspective I’ve been sorely lacking.

Went to one more club and danced with absolutely every person on my Smile Crusade: motioning and telling them to smile as we danced, and they all smiled and I made the entire club’s night. Continued the Smile Crusade on the street to much less success, yelling, “Hey girls, smile,” and getting harsh reactions, some girl yelling at me in Spanish as we neared the subway, her friend translating (in case I didn’t understand, but I knew the majority of what she said), “I am smiling, mother fucker! (etc.)”

Happy to sit on the subway and relax and wear away the still-killer buzz. A few stops later a really attractive girl sat across from me and her friend beside me. I was looking at the girl next to me, extra concerned, as she seemed really out of it almost to the point of vomiting, and I said, “Is your friend okay?” and the first girl was nasty, “Why are you staring?” and I explained that I was worried and she said that her friend was just drunk.

Maybe it was the failure of the Smile Crusade 2: Street Edition, or maybe it was lingering sadness over some past crap, but my eyes suddenly swelled with tears, so much so that I had to take off my glasses and cry right there on the subway, silent-like, gushing.

The girl’s face displayed concern as her lips mouthed, “What’s wrong?” I dried my eyes and shook my head, getting off at the Express Bus Terminal stop, and her too—secretly ecstatic yet trying to be cool. She asked why I was sad and I explained it was about a Korean girl, and she said, “You were thinking about a Koren girl you liked?” and I said yes, and she seemed too pleased. We bought our respective tickets, and seeing that my bus was leaving in four minutes, asked the woman when the next bus was and she signed and stamped my ticket for the next bus half an hour later. The first girl, the one who spoke really good English got some money from the ATM and we went for a snack.

I said that the food had no taste (in Korean) and Angela was like, “Don’t say that,” because the worker ladies weren’t too pleased, but it was true. I told her how beautiful she was (which was true, stupendously gorgeous) and she said she thought I was beautiful too and she used my phone to call hers, told me to call her anytime. Told me she was 21 Korean (19 US), which only means trouble, and she hugged me, asked the bus driver how long it took to get from my town to hers (two hours) and hugged me again.


New “girlfriend” called Saturday night at 1:30 AM, asking, after ten seconds of silence, “What are you doing?” and when I told her, “Uh, bed,” she hung up. I called back and she didn’t answer, then texted her to call me later and she did, ten minutes to be exact, only letting it ring once, so I couldn’t answer, nor was I inclined to do so. Since then she hasn’t responded to my calls or texts.

I called today Angela at one: “Bryan? What are you doing?” She was eating and said she’d text me when she available to talk, and she hadn’t by almost eight, when I called again. “Bryan. I miss you. Do you like me? Do you love me?”

“I don’t know you enough to love you, but I like you.”

“Then you need to see me.”

We made plans to hang out Monday, then she said, “Uh, hello?” and the connection was lost.

I called back a few minutes later and a guy answered, said he was her boyfriend and asked who I was (a friend), telling me she was sleeping and that I could call later.

Haven’t decided upon the next course of action regarding her, but did send January’s Club Day girlfriend a text, who I haven’t spoken to in almost a month, and she responded within seconds, “Bryan?” in Korean letters. A war of texts followed, but hers were hard to understand because they were in Korean.

Lesson from all of this ridiculousness: Nothing. Absolutely nothing, and I’m not against seeing any of these girls again, in all honesty. Especially Angela (and I’m sad I don’t know her Korean name, her actual one).

Can’t ask why people play games—I’m playing games now too (albeit my own versions).

All day Friday I couldn’t think about anything but dancing, couldn’t concentrate on teaching at the kindergarten or the hagwon. Once in 홍대 I asked the staff at the piercing parlor for hip hop club recommendations and they said NB2. I got a Heineken, danced on the floor and inhaled the next two, deciding to leave before I got too drunk too soon.

Once outside I showed some random guy my Club Day bracelet and asked him where to go. He said, “You like Korean girls, right?” and I told him I had a girlfriend and just wanted to dance, and he said, “FF,” explaining that it was older and quiet. I didn’t like it at all, packed with foreigners and a decent live band, but I decided to have one beer before leaving. I asked the Korean girl on the stool beside me a question and she said she didn’t speak English, so we spoke Korean. (My 10 hours of study this week definitely paid off). She introduced me to her friend Emma, and a little while later she said they were going home. I downed my beer and went upstairs, ready for another club. Emma, holding a cake, smiled and said we should go somewhere together. Her friend said it was Emma’s birthday.

(It ended up that her friend was married and spoke good English and Emma didn’t speak English very well at all, that I had to pass some rudimentary Korean language test with her friend before I could talk to Emma. I told her friend that she was the trap and they laughed and said I was very smart ).

The wait at NB2 was 2 hours, so I suggested we go to a bar, and they wanted me to pay. (Passing the bar earlier in the night, my intuition told me I’d visit it later). They got apple martinis and I got a Heineken, Emma sitting across from her friend who was sitting next to me. She said she wanted something for her birthday and I tried to kiss her hand, but she told me not to touch her and showed me her phone-dictionary: “Boundary.”

One drink later she said she wanted a boyfriend who had money and was Christian. When I gave her my phone-dictionary: “Taosim,” she immediately called her phone and explained that my looks made up for it and that maybe I could be her boyfriend but showed me her phone-dictionary: “Popularity.”  She put her feet on my lap and I said I was a gentleman so I was asking permission to massage them, and she said ok., so I did. Then I sat beside her and massaged her back and her legs and she said that she wanted me to be her boyfriend and we made plans for a date the next Saturday with her Canadian friend as a translator and the third Saturday just her and I.

“Bryan, Korean study hard,” she said as she rest her head on my shoulders, repeating that and “Call me” so many times. We were very close afterward, going to a machine game gun, her attaching the white fluffy thing to my phone so I can remember her. She had trouble with hers and some nerdy Korean guy did it at the snack place, me telling them the girls were trouble and them not divulging what I said, thanks bros! She fed me the 떡볶이 and then had to take a taxi home and it was sad.

I wanted to go home but it wasn’t time yet so I met some random French guys visiting from China and accompanied them on a search for a bar with no cover, talking most to the one who knew French, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and Chinese. I drank with them for a while: they were impressed when I danced with some Korean chick and bought her a bottle of water because she was thristy. I went back to NB2 alone and it was semi-packed at 5:30; my night was over anyway: I found a girlfriend, unexpectedly, a most excellent first Club Night. Same time next month? Most definitely!