Thursday, April 07, 2005

neurotics and assholes

Words cannot begin to describe my K'eun Adjoshi, relative and landlord.

Get this: the family above me, before they moved at the end of March, used to pay the utilities bill. I would figure out how much I owed them, give them a little white envelope of cash, and they'd do the rest. Easy, right?

It seems, however, that when they moved, they simply took the W75,000 I gave them and never paid the utilities. "Keu-nyang do-mang kasseoyo," said Adjoshi. They simply ran off.

Adjoshi's solution to this problem? Did he say, "Dammit, I've got their forwarding address! They can't pull this shit on us! I'm gonna give their sorry asses a call and tell 'em what's what!"? No. He said:

"Kevin, you have to pay me W75,000."

The mind boggles. And now your mind will boggle more because...

...I paid Adjoshi. Since I owe him close to 2 million won, anyway, I'm rationalizing this. But the rationalization isn't convincing the other, nobler parts of my brain. I'm trying to tell myself that I'm helping out a relative since he was nice enough to let me stay here. But another part of my brain has brought out the nipple clamps, the length of garden hose, and the cat-o'-nine-tails, and is ready is give me the beating of my life for being such a pussy.

Adjoshi has gotten into the habit of coming over to my place and spending several hours there doing nothing except walking around the empty upstairs dwelling, looking for something to lord over. When I'm not in my own place, I'm sure he goes in there, too, and roots around my stuff. Again, it's a good thing I don't keep a porn stash of either magazines or electronic stuff. As it is, I wonder what he thinks of my stash of cartoons-- the ones I've stuck on the blog. Like this one, for instance.

Ostensibly, Adjoshi is loitering because the entire place is going to be renovated. They're going to start with the upstairs, then they'll do the downstairs once I move out. The thing is, there's nothing for Adjoshi to do at the moment. He's coming over because he's a control freak. It's that simple. I'm turning into Gollum, too, I swear: I've begun muttering under my breath, "I'll be so glad to move out of this fucking place. So glad, Precious. So glad. Gollum!"

Today it was rainy. Adjoshi hung around longer than usual because he couldn't pull his car back onto the street: someone across from our house had parked illegally and left Adjoshi no room to nose his car out. Adjoshi had phoned the guy and was waiting for him, but instead of waiting inside, where it was dry and I was making spaghetti, he stubbornly insisted on staying outside in the rain.

Then Adjoshi saw the culprit and they talked for a few minutes, wasting time that could've been used moving the damn car. The car was finally moved; Adjoshi somehow misplaced his umbrella and suddenly it fell to me to find it. He edged his car out onto the street, asking me to direct him out (it was still a tight fit, what with all the other parked cars), and he wouldn't trust my directions every time I told him it was OK for him to move forward.

I can understand an old person's caution and hesitation, having hung around plenty of old people. But you have to understand: Adjoshi is so ridden with complexes that even his hesitation while driving feels like it's of a piece with the rest of his neuroses.

Earlier in the day, while out and avoiding being home with a nitpicking Adjoshi, I found myself in the Korea University PC-bahng, called Magic Station (it's a chain; I like it because it's non-smoking). I was in the so-called VIP room, which is where I go to upload my photos. A Korean guy came in a few minutes after I got there; he was talking on the phone with someone. Then I distinctly heard him say in Korean, "There's a foreigner in here, he's eating, and the place smells of kim-bap." At which point I wanted to walk over and twist his head off, but I settled for saying, "Sorry!" loudly in Korean. It seemed to work: there were no more obvious references to me (that I could make out, at least).

Every once in a while, you encounter fucking assholes like that. They think you don't know any Korean-- an assumption that's less and less tenable in Seoul these days, because way too many foreigners speak far better Korean than I do. And it's incredible that this dickhead would make such an assumption while on Korea University's grounds: plenty of fluent Korean-speaking foreigners study here. If I see that dipshit again, I might not be so polite.

I finished my Wednesday with a peaceful walk up Namsan. I did the walk on Tuesday evening with a buddy of mine; he was impressed at how much I've improved in terms of speed and energy. Tonight I was alone, the rain had only recently stopped, and it was late. I got to Beot'igogae Station around 10:05 and reached the top of the mountain at 10:47-- a 42-minute walk. Not bad. If I can hit 40 minutes consistently, I'll consider that path mastered and turn to... the stairs.

I made a ton of white sauce to give to a family I know; I hope they enjoy it. I'm seeing them tomorrow; will be curious to know how they react to it.


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