Ah, it’s been a week since I last posted. You ain’t missed much, trust me. Truth is I’ve been in something of a funk. Just tired and unmotivated and generally out of sorts. But here I am and here you are so let me share some random-ass shit.
Jee Yeun’s aunt died on Friday. Her favorite aunt, the one she used to stay with in the countryside. Heart attack apparently, so she went quick at least. I’d never met the woman, but it’s sad to see Jee Yeun grieving. Well, I’m not seeing it now because she’s left for the funeral, which in Korea is a three day affair.
Today makes four weeks without a cigarette. I have done some vaping when the urge for nicotine is especially strong, like when I’m out
drinking throwing darts. The new anti-smoking laws here in Korea apparently include vaping, or at least there’s enough confusion about the law’s applicability that most bars make me take it outside. So far, my favorite bar has allowed me to puff inside which is nice. The other day a guy came up to me and asked me what flavor oil I was using. I honestly don’t remember, I’m all about the nicotine. He laughed and said he and his buds had been smelling what they thought was someone baking cupcakes. I was surprised because I was intentionally sitting near an open window so as not to be offensive. I apologized, but he said no, it’s actually quite pleasant although he said he was now hungry for something freshly baked.
I had filled a prescription for Champix several weeks ago in anticipation of the day when I would again attempt to quit cigarettes. So I added it in to my daily pill ritual. I’ve taken the drug before and the only side effect was having some pretty vivid and intense dreams. This time around I found it difficult to fall asleep (my mind seemed to always be racing with random and disjointed thoughts). Once I managed sleep, the dreams were much more intense (and more nightmarish) than what I’d previously experienced. So, I’d wake up and repeat the cycle of trying to get back to sleep only to be reawakened by another bizarre dream. Needless to say, it did not make for a restful and satisfying sleep. Hence, I was always tired which may explain my lack of motivation. I finally had to give up on the Chanmpix a couple of days ago, and things are going back to normal nocturnally speaking.
I’m between jobs which has also disrupted my weekly routine. Who knew I’d actually miss getting up and going to work? Presumably I’m still on track to start the new gig on the 18th. I got an email on Thursday indicating that a security clearance has been initiated and I should stand by for further instructions. And I’m still waiting. It’s frustrating because I just did all that security paperwork (everywhere I lived and worked with names and addresses of people who can verify those facts) a couple of months ago. But whatever, I have no choice but to go along to get along.
I’ve also been feeling grumpier than usual. It’s just too bad that I don’t have a yard so I could yell at kids to “get off my lawn” now and then. Instead, I got a little angry at darts on Monday night when a hot-shot Korean was more interested in running up the score than in winning the game. And then on Friday night I got pissed at Dolce Vita and walked out without playing in the tournament. Here’s the thing. I’ve been a patron of DV for ten years now. That doesn’t make me special, but it does make me a regular. And I’ve been ordering the same goddamn thing every time I’ve been there–a mug of Cass beer. There were two other people sitting at the bar, but I set myself up at a table near the dart boards. Now, although the bartender (who happens to be the owner’s niece) made eye contact she didn’t offer a welcome or a greeting. I don’t require those basic courtesies, but I do expect to be served. And for whatever reason, I decided to take a stand by refusing to go to the bar to place my order. It’s her job to come to me. So after several minutes of a Mexican standoff, I packed up my darts and headed for the door. One of the guys at the bar asked me where I was going. I responded “somewhere where I will be served a beer” and walked on out. Shocking, eh? Keeping it all in perspective, I was no where near this angry.
After my early exit from Dolce Vita I hiked over to Sin Bin, the bar that has a competing Friday night tourney. They’ve been trying to get me out there for quite some time, but I’ve stupidly always been loyal to DV. And even in my pissy mood I couldn’t quite bring myself to play their tourney. Fact is, I’ve been unhappy with the fact that Sin Bin chose to split the crowd on Friday’s rather than do a tourney on another available night (Saturday for instance). Anyway, I chatted with some folks and enjoyed the promptly served beer. Afterwards, I went on an old fashioned Itaewon bar crawl, visiting some of my favorite old haunts from days gone by. Got good service everywhere and had a pretty good time before heading home satisfyingly inebriated.
Last night I met up with my nephew Justin at Shenanigans and we had an enjoyable time shooting the shit, drinking beers, and doing shots. I’m always trying to hook the boy up with one of the cute bar girls, but have not had much success in that regard. There was a new gal last night so I got the ball rolling for him. Turns out she has a boyfriend in Canada, but she still seemed to enjoy the attention. She got off work about the time I was leaving and she invited Justin to join her and her friends for a drink. He seemed pretty happy about that.
Living in Gireum is a bit of a pain in the ass sometimes. The thing I like least is having to rush out of Itaewon with ample time to catch the last subway home. I was taking no chances last night, so I headed to the station well before 11:30. Got to Itaewon station just in time to board the train for my connection at Samgakji. Where I waited and waited until a train finally arrived, which proved to be the last one of the night. And it was only going as far as Hangsun University station, two stops prior to Gireum. And so like magic, my foul mood returned.
So it’s after midnight, I’m without my Korean guide, and wasn’t exactly sure which exit would lead me to the right bus stop. At least I knew I needed to catch the 143 bus. The thing is, once the subway stops running you have hundreds of people exiting the station at the same time. I guessed the exit that my drunken sense of direction told me was right, and sure enough there was a bus stop. Swarming with people so thick it took my several minutes of salmon-like maneuvering to get anywhere near the place where buses were loading. And there were lots of buses, but no 143. I glanced over at the electronic sign announcing arrivals and didn’t see the 143 listed. I figured I was at the wrong bus stop or the last 143 bus had already come and gone. So I crossed the street in search of a cab. Ha! I’m such a dreamer. There wasn’t an empty cab in sight, and even if there was one coming, I’d reckon at least ten people were on the street in front of me hoping for a miracle.
My leg was hurting again so I was not feeling good about the prospect of finding my way to Gireum on foot. As I stood there mentally cursing my foul luck, what should appear out of the blue–the 143! Of course, now I was on the wrong side of the street from the bus stop. Decisions, decisions. Do I risk jaywalking in heavy traffic or play it safe and potentially miss the only bus I knew was coming. Fuck that, I ain’t missing the bus! There was a fortuitous gap in the cars and I used my Frogger skills to make a successful dash for the bus. Which I boarded and then stood (no seats available of course) feeling foolish while the driver waited for the passenger’s who had the good sense to use the crosswalk with the light. I made it home though, so there’s that.
And that’s pretty much what you missed during the week I couldn’t be bothered to write a post. You can thank me in the comments.