At the end of my street, and just around the corner, there's a computer-repair shop. Last year, the shop had kicked out a fairly decent dak-gangjeong chicken joint* that had been struggling to make ends meet. I heaved my dying Mac over to the repair shop today, blessing the Weather Channel for once again having fucked up its forecast of rain, rain, and more rain. I showed my Mac to the gnome inside the shop, noting that the computer was American, i.e., it ran on 110 volts and had a funny-shaped plug, which meant the gnome would need an adapter and a "down" transformer.
He said he didn't have either of those things (how often does a Korean shop take in American products, after all?), so I offered to lumber back to my place and bring those items to him. The gnome consented; I went back home, dusted off my transformer and power strip, and took those back to the shop. "Because this isn't a domestic product," said the gnome, "it's going to take some time to order parts, and repair might be a bit expensive." Shorty had me by the balls then, but I wasn't about to be so gauche as to whisk the computer away and take it up the street: nothing the gnome had said was truly unreasonable. The other computer-repair shop in the neighborhood would likely say the same thing.
So the gnome gave me a rectangular decal that functioned as a sort of business card; he took down my phone number and told me he'd Kakao** me in a few days, at which time he'd let me know the price for parts and labor, along with an estimate on repair time. Macs aren't popular in Korea; I imagine that finding a proper Mac service center would be a pain in the ass, so if this repair is to be as expensive as the gnome warned, then I'll treat the extra cost as payment for the convenience of not having to run my computer into Daegu or Seoul.
I'll be without my desktop for a week or more, it seems. Not tragic: I can still blog from my laptop, which seems to be chugging along without any problems. Life would be boring if it weren't for the occasional turbulence to unbalance my routine. As Clint Eastwood grated in "Heartbreak Ridge," I'll just improvise, adapt, overcome.
*I'm not sure what the best translation for dak-gangjeong is. Dak is "chicken," and gangjeong apparently translates as something like "crackers," but what you get when you order dak-gangjeong looks, feels, and tastes like good old popcorn chicken (usually sauced), so I'm tempted to translate it that way: it's popcorn chicken—a distant cousin of what Americans know as General Tso's Chicken (or any number of crunchy, batter-fried chicken chunks in Chinese sauce). Here are some images of dak-gangjeong. Compare those to these hauntingly similar images of popcorn chicken, looking rather naked without sauce.
**KakaoTalk is a super-popular IM-chat app used by almost all Koreans. Not having a Kakao presence is like not having a face, basically. Many Koreans just call the app "KaTalk," pronounced a bit like a pothead saying "KaToke."