Sunday, September 23, 2007

comme des goinfres

My buddy Tom and I went to our friend Jang-woong's party last night. The party was actually for his son, Ji-an (English name "John"), who had turned one. Despite Tom's and my years in Korea, this was the first time either of us had gone to a first-birthday (ch'eot-dol) party. Not having done our homework as to what to bring, we decided money would be best, and went halvesies* on W100,000 in a white envelope on which I had written "Happy Birthday!" in hanja (saeng-il, "birthday") and hangeul. (ch'uk-ha-heyo, "congratulations"). I also bought JW and his wife a bit of alcohol, and gave them a plastic tube with one copy each of those goofy posters I had made. Just as a gag.

The party took place on the 18th floor of the Capital Hotel (or is that "Hotel Capital"?) in Itaewon, and the buffet spread was pretty damn good. JW greeted us right at the door; he had been sitting at the piano with Ji-an; a photographer was taking pictures of them. JW stared at me in shock and said, "What happened to your body? You look good!" I was wearing my new black shirt, see, so the spare tire wasn't quite as visible as usual.

I had the chance to greet JW's parents (whom I've met several times before), JW's lovely wife Bo-hyeon, JW's big sisters Yeon-ju and Mi-yeong, and their families. Tom and I attacked the buffet with relish, swooping over it several times like dragons over a European village, plucking victims at random from the trays on offer. The stand-out entree was thinly sliced beef and mushrooms in sweet brown sauce, but I also went for some pâté, some snails in demi-glacé sauce (I could have eaten several plates of this alone), salad, fried eggrolls, and "L.A." kalbi from the corner grill. I finished this mountain of food off with a few tiny pieces of cake and three scoops of ice cream. Before the buffet I had figured that Modesty and Conscience, those twin harpies, needed to be tied up and thrown in a closet until after dinner.

When we arrived we asked JW when the ceremony would begin, and he said "Thirty minutes from now." After much talking and eating, Tom and I realized that thirty minutes had long since passed, and when JW came out and sat down with us, we discovered that there had been a bit of miscommunication: we had been invited to sit in the special room where the ceremony was to take place, but this invitation came before Tom and I had gotten any food. We got our food and ended up sitting well outside that special room in a fairly roomy spot (close to the buffet spread, of course), and no one had come to tell us the ceremony was about to begin. I think we had assumed we would be warned, while JW and company had assumed we would make our way into the special room. Ah, well. If nothing else, I'm happy to have had a chance to attend the party, and I certainly don't regret the food. More important, I got to meet JW's family again; I hadn't seen some of them in three years. They're good people.

So this morning, with Modesty and Conscience free of their closet, I found myself paying the price for yesterday's extravagance when I ran to the toilet and began feeding its laughing mouth my thick, infernal pasta.

*I have no idea how to spell this word. Halvesies? Halvsies? Halfsies?


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I would have opted for the hyphenate:

"Halve-sies" or "Half-sies."