Sunday, October 01, 2006

Mr.Toad's wild ride

I took a cab down the street to the local Lotte Mart to do a shitload of shopping for the upcoming week. Not wanting to spend myself into bankruptcy by hitting restaurants every day, I decided to grab enough food to last me about five days, and to get some baby items which I can take along with me to Inch'eon in a few days.

The cab ride is usually barely a minute, and tonight's ride up to the store was no exception. The driver, however was nuts.

"YOU A SOLDIER?" he boomed in Korean. Old guy, big smile.

"No; I teach at Smoo," I said.

"AT FIRST I THOUGHT YOU WERE KOREAN!" boomed the driver.

"My mother's Korean," I said.

"YOU LIKE MARIAH CAREY?" he boomed, then cranked up the CD player or radio or whatever it was without waiting for an answer. Mariah Carey sang some bit of high-decibel love fluff.

"HOW OLD ARE YOU? HOW OLD ARE YOU?" he yelled, first in Korean, then in English.

"Thirty-seven, in American age," I said.

"ME-- SIXTY-TWO!" the driver shouted. "SOON--" he made the universal choke/rattle sound signifying death. Then he cackled.

"No, no," I said, "You're gonna live a long time!"

He laughed at that. Then he shouted, "DO YOU KNOW--" and named a series of Western pop stars.

At this point I was just nodding. I interrupted him to ask, "Have you lived in America?"

"NO, BUT I'VE LIVED IN... KOREA!!" he screamed, then cackled some more.

We pulled up to Lotte Mart and I said my usual, "Sorry for the short drive; take an extra thousand won."

The driver's parting shot to me was a vigorous thumbs-up and a gleefully barked, "YOU! FUSION KOREAN!"

I assume he was referring to my being of mixed race.

I like that term. Fusion Korean.

That's gonna have to go on a CafePress mug. But I won't be selling a mug to that driver: he's already got too much coffee in his system.


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