Thursday, April 27, 2006

just-- let-- it-- GO, man!

Of the two concierges who man the front office of our dorm, one is old, friendly, and goofy; the other, unfortunately, is a weird, obsessive asshole. He doesn't normally bother me, but his public fixation with garbage, and how to dispose of it, occasionally gets under my skin.

On my way to meet a friend for an early dinner this afternoon, the concierge adjoshi stopped me just so he could rant about garbage and the neighborhood cats. At first I thought he was telling me-- as he's done in the past-- that I needed to do something about my own garbage, but no: it turned out he was telling me war stories about how he now puts all the organic garbage inside heavy plastic trash cans to keep the cats out, and how he has to cart that garbage to the local dong-samuso (a sort of local district office) to dispose of it. "And I was doing this on my days off!" he said.

I wasn't sure what his point was. Was I supposed to congratulate him? All I knew was that I was late to meet my buddy, and that I was once again being forced to listen to a garbage-related tirade.

The lesson for today: depending on the nature of our jobs and habits, our personal worlds can range in scope from expansive to constricted. For this particular concierge, who spends his days in a cramped, first-floor office with a tiny TV, life is mainly about the goings-on of us dorm tenants, the nasty habits of cats, and finally, about the plastic-wrapped garbage that surrounds us, penetrates us, and binds the galaxy together.



Anonymous said...

Kevin, I live partly to read humorous Star Wars allusions in your always-entertaining posts!

Anonymous said...

I have found that an occasional discreet gift of two to six bottles of soju is like manna from Heaven to the average kyungbi ajosshi.

There is no downside to such a gift. It's like planting a seed which you may (or may not) harvest in the future.

At the very least, such a gift could provide an opportunity for a segue to turn the conversation away from garbage.

Kevin Kim said...


I bribe the adjoshis routinely, but never with soju, since I don't drink. (I usually give them food.)

Maybe I'll have to maintain a special soju stock, eh? Does soju age well if kept in one's room a long time?


Anonymous said...

The chemicalized soju favored by kyungbi ajosshis is not something I would consume, so I cannot answer your question from experience. I would assume it is manufactured as cheaply as possible and is intended to be consumed immediately.

I do have a bottle of "Andong soju," which is supposed to be naturally brewed according to ancient traditions, which is dated 8/1994. It was at least 25,000 won when I bought it in 1/1995, so I guess it could be considered a little better than Jinro's usual better-living-through-chemistry soju, at least on the basis of cost.

However, it tasted awful back in 1995, and when I sampled it recently to see what ten+ years of age would do for it, I found it still tasted awful.

Check with me in another ten years, and I'll let you know how the Andong swill is doing.