Tuesday, April 11, 2006

hurray for crazy people!

Last night's trip into a bakery (no pastries-- I swear upon my tarantula's grave) was punctuated by a visit from a youngish, possibly homeless guy. He was wearing some sort of overlarge windbreaker; he had a black beard (a modest Korean-style one, not the kind you'd find on Grizzly Adams) and a wide, dark blue headband. I thought he was a local artist at first, since many male Korean artists distinguish themselves from regular guys by growing beards.

He wasn't an artist. He was a crazy dude. I had apparently walked in on some sort of passive-aggressive confrontation between the bakery's female nighttime manager and Crazy Dude. The latter began hawking up some phlegm, and just as he was about to launch it, the manager yelled at him. Crazy Dude immediately whipped out a well-used handkerchief and gallantly said, "Don't worry-- this will be very clean," or something to that effect. Then he loudly expectorated into the cloth and pocketed his handkerchief.

Crazy Dude then noticed me standing there and, over the manager's commands of "Nagaseyo" (please leave), he addressed me in startlingly good English. At that point, I decided I'd pretend only to speak and understand French.

I can't remember exactly what he said, but I think it went something like, "Please don't mind that lady behind the counter. She has some sort of mental complex. It has nothing to do with me." He also said he was the son of some high official-- again, I can't remember who. For all I know, he could have been referring to someone from the Koryo Dynasty.

I kept my eyes resolutely forward, toward the harassed-looking manager, who was ringing up my purchase. Crazy Dude, tiring of his game, left. I left soon after, and didn't see Crazy Dude anywhere outside. Strange.

You see a lot of unhinged people in Seoul. I imagine the same would be true in a large American city like New York. I'm from the DC area, and we have a substantial homeless problem. A lot of those folks are plain nuts, and in need of help. This dude I saw last night, though... there was something wily about him. I have to wonder how nutso he really was. I got a strange feeling that he was playing for laughs as much as anything else. All we needed was a camera crew from a reality TV series.

More crazies! We need more crazies!


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