Seaside Crane

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Bank of the Rising Sun

Gwangju Bank recently changed its logo after getting new management.  I can’t say that I’m enamored with the new logo, which looks like a white worm inching off a blue tile, but after dropping a friend off at Gwangju Station, I noticed that from one side of the building, the old logo looks a bit Imperial, if you know what I mean.


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Premature Deliveries, Elastic Boner Straps, and Sweaty Eye Contact

It was a quarter to ten last night when we placed our order online.  “That gives us about a half hour to ourselves,” said gilf with a coquettish side glance.  “What should we do?”

“Take our minds off the hunger,” I said, my fingers already sliding between zipper teeth that openly fed on my hand.  “Thirty minutes is my minimum.”

In a pinch, there are certain go-to positions that tease me up quick.  On this night, the speed bump was first on the menu, followed by froggie doggie; a kneeling fox colonoscopy prep was up next.

It was during this chute changeover—exactly 10:07— that the premature delivery happened.  The delivery ajeossi knocked on the door almost a full ten minutes early.

“Fuck!  They said thirty minutes!” was my wide-eyed reaction.  Gilf contracted in shock.

Cue a hasty withdrawal and a frantic search for minimalist attire layered among a pile of entangled linens.  This fleet classification of clothing only increased the amount of sweat on my face.  I could feel my ears burning a bright red.

In a matter of moments there I stood, card in hand, stripped down to the bare essentials.  The elastic band around my shorts had been enlisted to restrain a tall man’s raging boner against a sweaty, heaving midsection sheltered beneath a backwards and inside-out shirt, the white tag of which was stuck to my sweaty Adam’s apple in an inopportune display of quasi-priestly haste.

The elastic boner-concealment trick was an old technique from middle school when dick control was still a struggle.  Back then, approximately a third of young boys probably had their dicks pinched against their abdomens at any given moment.  The drawback to this ruse is that it still shows unless you lean a little forward.  So to get through the payment process without detection, I had to take Sheryl Sandberg’s advice and lean in.

However the delivery ajeossi was under protocol to tell me that when I ordered I forgot to click the 25% discount option, but that he would give me the discount anyway so long as I remembered to select the discounted option in the future.

While patiently listening to his explanation and responding appropriately in Korean, my boner had lost half its steam, causing it to slowly slip below the elastic band.  When this happens, a bulge appears below the band; given enough time, the exsanguinous member will pop free from bondage and fall back down to its place among the nuts.

I was fast approaching this critical popping moment.  Fearing this, I took the pizza box and slowly put it down on the floor.  In doing so I stuck my ass out exaggeratedly, which gave my flaccid leg the cue to drop from its perch and return to base.  God only knows what the delivery man thought of my sudden sweat-sodden yoga pose.

Maybe it wouldn’t have looked so weird had I not been trying to maintain eye contact with the guy while doing all this.  I did it to show that I was still listening to his helpful but ill-timed discount spiel, but I’m sure it came out looking all wrong.  Here he started to get squirrely and beat an unusually hasty retreat after handing over my card and receipt.

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Forlorn Temples, South Jeolla



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Memory Lane, Gwangju


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Lunch with my hit-and-run driver

I spent lunch chauffeuring an oleaginous real estate agent around my area of Gwangju in search of a body shop for my freshly remodeled car door.  This unctuous creature of substandard spatial awareness started by inviting me into his office for tea.  Foreseeing this, I bought a coffee beforehand and simply brandished it, suggesting we begin our search for a repair shop instead.  Slimy salesman that he was, he took this premeditated rejection in stride.  We didn’t even get into my car before he made his second offer, namely to buy some spray that matched my car’s color and—I didn’t even let him finish his sentence.

We didn’t last five minutes at the nearest repair shop before he and the head repair man got into a heated shouting match over the repair man’s proposed methods.  This smarmy poikilothermic salesman somehow managed to shout and smile at the same time.  I was kind of enjoying it all.  Overall, the price was ridiculously high and the repair would take an entire day, which I thought was excessive.  The second shop wasn’t any different, save that there wasn’t a shouting match this time.  Just a mass of shoulder-height ajeossis pacing confusedly around my car for 25 minutes.  It was at this point that my empty stomach and all the second-hand smoke from the buttery con artist’s cigarettes began to wear on me.

By the way, isn’t it fucking bizarre that I’m chauffeuring the guy who hit my car and ran?  Isn’t this utterly fuckingly retardedly bizarre?  My insurance company suggested that we settle things off the record like this because the damage wasn’t all that significant.  I can’t say that this was wrong, but to have to spend an hour with a thickset grifter resembling a certain North Korean autocrat, who half succeeded in a hit-and-run against me only the day before, was almost too much to bear.  Hell, his taste in fashion was reason enough to call the whole thing off for the inhuman ocular assault it engendered.

To give you a taste, imagine resurrecting The Dear Leader, smearing chalk all over his face, and unironically dressing him in red, white and violet checkered Miami Vice slacks that stopped short of sockless ankles.  Now give him a T-shirt so gay it could be used as a gay pride photo filter equal to the one used by all those people who gay rainbowed their Facebook pics.  Don’t forget a pair of black and white loafers so fashionable that only a colorblind 40-something ajeossi fitting the above description would wear them.  Lastly, imagine oozing through every thread of such an outfit the nose hair-searing confluence of garlic and tobacco resin.  This is the caliber of humanity I’m sharing the road with.

It’s terrifying.

Our last stop was at a simple dent shop that offered to do the job in an hour for only 50,000 won.  That was good for the oleaginous ajeossi’s wallet and for my schedule.  While dropping this sartorially-challenged solicitor back off at his office, he went too far and spuriously invited me to a nice dinner so that he could make things right and—I didn’t even let him finish that sentence.  My bullshit detector cut him short again.  One benefit of living abroad is that you focus less on the words people say and more on how they act.  I read this guy like a book from the instant he drove off after hitting my car.  After meeting him in person, I had no doubt that he was indeed a shady son of a bitch.  The insurance agent assigned on my behalf confirmed this, too, though in more diplomatic terms.

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The Car Chase

I just wrote a post two weeks ago about my car getting hit and already, again, I’m writing another post about my car getting hit.  This time it was very personal because the ajeossi who hit me (black sedan, nach) was so fucking stupid he said he “didn’t even realize” he hit me.  Now, like the rest of us, this guy is human, so I understand that mistakes happen.  We all deserve at least one get-out-of-jail-free card for innocuous ignorance.  But dude fucked up on multiple levels, so I had nothing but seething hatred for his permed, leathery self.

He had left his unfathomably long black sedan to idle in front of a convenience store (blocking a third of the intersection) while he ran in to get cigarettes that he no doubt cut in line to buy.  He ran out and jumped into his angular ajeossi vessel right as I was turning ever so gingerly around it.  I was being all nice, giving him a wide berth, turning at a crawl, and using my signal like thoughtful white people do, but without even buckling our ajeossi in black threw it in reverse and smashed right into my door.  By this point he’d already used multiple idiot cards, mind you.

The worst part is that after hitting my car, the fucker pulled away and merged into traffic to get on the highway.  Luckily, the light was red, which gave me enough time to chase the fucker down—CHASE THE FUCKER DOWN—and tell him he hit my car.  When I pulled up, he immediately rolled his window down, which shows he knew something was wrong, but he pleaded ignorance to it all.  This is the kind of shit that passes for driver awareness in this country.  When he finally pulled over he got out smiling and laughing, slapping me on the back like my boss tried to do a few weeks ago after he fired me.  It’s rare for me to shake with rage like I did then; I tend to be a very level-headed person.

I immediately got on the phone with my insurance company, something he discouraged me from doing.  He said to just call him tomorrow and we’d get things sorted out.  He had a prior engagement, you see, and was a very busy man with permed hair and leathery skin.  But my Korean is pretty good when I’m either drunk or angry, so I told him that based on the fact that I had to chase his either lying or inattentive ass down, he wasn’t a person who could be trusted.  So the insurance agent showed up and yada, yada.  As fate would have it, today is my first day off after getting fired unceremoniously last month.  What timing!

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