There was the long dark tea time of the soul (thank you Douglas Adams) after the Irish and I came home to find the apartment had been robbed and the place vacated by the former One/girlfriend/object of affection. She was gone.
The place was a little bit happier for her leaving, but the aftermath was a nuclear meltdown of epic proportions that hit both the Irish and I hard for about a month to follow. After replacing half the furniture in the place and living through the heat of early summer, the Irish—beginning to put the pieces back together—looked at me one lingering Saturday night.
"Let's go out," he said. This was the first time he had expressed an interest in leaving the apartment to do anything other than go to a work function in close to a month and a half, so I was happy to support him in his desire to go into downtown Daegu and see what kind of trouble we could get into. After his seven-year relationship ended, it had been a while since he had gone out to do anything other than have a beer and hang with friends, and it seemed like it might be fun to see what there was. Granted, neither of us was really in much of a state of mind to do anything, but seemed like there could be a story in it.
If nothing else, it would be an adventure.
So we both cleaned up pretty, put on our game faces, and hit the local bar scene. We either started or ended, in Travelers, but I can't be sure. I believe we were trying out new bars and Travelers (which is poorly named but has a huge space) seemed like fun. I sat at the bar and ordered a water since I hate the watered-down drinks the place served, and started to chat. I managed to chat up a brand-new, completely terrified hagwon teacher by the name of John Doe, and in his halfhearted attempts to talk to me I discovered this was the first time he had actually been downtown.
"Seriously?" I asked.
"I don't really know where to go," he responded. I called over the Irish, who decided to wingman for the poor shy fellow, and out we went, back onto the streets and toward another bar, now a party of three. Somehow we ended up eating kabobs, and taking in the unfortunate dance-time rhythms and sounds of a sports bar, before heading toward the concert-hall bar, and finally (as it was getting close to one a.m.) working our way back toward the Lonely Hearts Club. Truly, the Lonely Hearts is the only place to end an evening, and while John seemed to be warming up he didn't seem much longer for the world.
As we walked toward the Lonely Hearts—having crawled through all of the Daegu bar scene in one night—we passed by the bag drinks place. The weather was nice enough that there were people sitting outside, and I surely did not want one of the sugary sweet drinks. I went to make straight past it when I heard a muffled "help" coming up from one of the tables.
I stopped and looked over my shoulder at a young blonde girl who mouthed to me, "Help us!"
This required a slightly more refined check of the scene, so I turned and looked and took in the situation. There were three youngish girls sitting at the outdoor table, and with them three Korean men. It seemed like the girls wanted to get away from the Koreans, but were not quite sure exactly how to do it. The look in Blondie's eyes made it clear, though, that she at least wanted to escape, so I shrugged, walked over and put my arm around her like she was my best friend and asked her all serious "Where did you go, I thought we'd lost you?"
The Irish, not missing a beat, followed suit, and in short order we had taken control of the three fairy princesses, wrestled them away from the Korean dragons, and transported them with us (and John Doe, who was still in line) toward the Lonely Hearts Club. Or at least we mostly prevailed; apparently, unbeknownst to me, we still had at least one Korean who was not giving up the fight. Unknown to the whole group, at least one of the fairy princesses was into him too. Being that they were all complete strangers, it was perhaps no surprise that we, the knights in shining armor, were unawares.
We entered into the Lonely Hearts and to my surprise I found a long-lost traveler at the bar who knew me and wanted to chat me up. I sat at the bar and reconnected with old friends while the Irish did his best to wingman for John Doe, who was chatting up one of the girls we rescued from the Koreans. Turned out the girls were all from South Africa and it was also their first time in downtown Daegu. It seemed to be a night of first timers.
The night wound on, and suddenly I realized that it was close to two a.m. I headed over to the Irish to see how things were going. It looked like John Doe was going to be successful after all; however, the girl he was most interested in also seemed to quickly be going over the precipice of merely drunk to totally knocked out. Blondie (who had asked us to save the group) was asking the bartender if she could just sleep it off in a corner. The Irish came up to me and asked if I would mind if he let them crash on various couches.
I said sure, and went back to my drink. Shortly after that I watched them carry drunk fairy princess number two out of the bar, and turned back to my drinks with friends until well after the cocks crowed sunrise.
At six a.m. I did my own walk-and-stumble out of the Lonely Hearts and headed toward home, remembered vaguely there would be people in the house, and tried my best to be quiet. Which was sort of silly since obviously something was going on.
Or at least someone was going on with someone else in the apartment. At first I wondered if John Doe had also ended up at our place, or if something else had gone on with the Irish that I had not seen. That was not it, though. It was fairy princess number three who, apparently, was quite interested in the Korean boy that was chatting her up to the point where she brought him to the house, and, well, yes, they were on the couch. Fairy princess number two—who was pass-out drunk in the bar—was pass-out drunk on couch number two, and the Irish was in bed, with a fairly passed out princess number one, that party being fully clothed in his bed. I was amused.
I climbed into my bed, thankfully empty of all princesses and only containing a small dog, and passed out.
Sometime around nine the second girl woke up, the Korean guy left, and the two awake girls started talking, and then they went in to drag the first girl out of the Irish's room. He talked to them for a few more minutes and then sent them on their merry way. Fortunately we live close to the train.
When he got back he popped in to see me.
"That was a frustrating waste of time."
"How'd she end up in your bed?"
"Well, I thought that might be going somewhere but apparently it was not."
"What happened to John Doe?"
"No idea; I lost him on the stairs."
"Well, not bad for a first time out trying to pull since the end of all things."
"Not really a success," the Irish said.
"Really? Come on man, three of 'em, and a Korean."
We laughed and fell asleep in my bed in the thankfully silent, empty apartment.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
There was the long dark tea time of the soul (thank you Douglas Adams) after the Irish and I came home to find the apartment had been robbed and the place vacated by the former One/girlfriend/object of affection. She was gone.
I grew up in catering.
It started at the tender age of eight when I volunteered to wrap food for my father's food truck. There had for some time been an actual restaurant in the city, but then it was moved to an out-of-the-house operation where the food was going to be generally made by el Diablo Madre and my father.
The food (it was always just the food) was a random mix of hot and cold sandwich-type things that could be served out of the back of a catering truck to men and women who worked in factories, offices, and other types of centers where people didn't generally have an option to go very far for lunch.
To do this, the food was originally, made fresh and wrapped in plastic. I got sucked in by the wrapping motion of the machine and wanted to try it. I was probably done with it after the first half hour, but since I had demonstrated an aptitude, I gained a new chore. And so I grew up in catering, whether I liked it or not.
Thing is, I'm actually good at food service—remarkably so—and I will do almost anything I can do to avoid doing it. I made a promise to myself in my late teens that I was not going to end up in food. That had been the first part of my life and it was over; I wasn't going back.
Then the Irish was talking about the need to feed a party of people, and after discussing the budget for food and several options, I realized it would be a hell of a lot cheaper to just cater it.
"You know, for what it would cost to take them to a decent restaurant, I could just buy and make the food."
I whipped out a pen and came up with a sample menu for breakfast and lunch that included a variety of eating diets, a basic cost, and overall prep time.
"For how much?"
I quoted him the figure again.
"Let's do it, then," he said. With that I had once again entered the world of catering. I got up early for the gig, did the breakfast round, cleaned the apartment, did the lunch round, changed clothes, and made appetizers for the after-dinner drink and mingle. In all, I brought in the entire party for about eighty less than I had budgeted.
The experience was still surreal. Being in the kitchen, being responsible for the food, paying meticulous attention to the prep. Knowing when to time things to make sure it all came out just right and hot, getting things sorted to serve. Working on display. I enlisted the Geisha as an assistant and had her do the sous prep while I worked on cooking, timing, sorting, and the rest in general. It all went beautifully. Everyone enjoyed it. There were many compliments. When it was all over I felt dead inside.
I grew up in catering. It was a thing that happened to me—by choice or force, I could not tell you after the ten years of my life spent in a kitchen prepping food. It was a thing I did and it filled my life with both joy and unhappiness. Some of the more interesting stories of my childhood come from catering, as do some of the most miserable and abusive episodes. The entire experience colors how I interact with food, food service, and food prep. The reality is I never want to do it again, but I know that there will be unavoidable times where I do the math in my head and realize it would be cheaper to just do it myself or with the assistance of another person.
Yet, the ghost that is inside it makes it most undesirable. There is a girl in there, buried under platters of hamburgers, cold cuts, and bowls of tuna fish salad, a girl that is crying and lonely and screaming and neglected. She looks up from under all those years of food and wonders what was more important, her service or the her childhood, and looking back she knows the answers. Others will say differently, that she learned, that she gained, but there was so much lost. So much that could have been gained by saying no, so much more that could have been by saying no. This quiet, little haunting thing is always there when there is cooking to be done, a small hushed voice that whispers about not being good enough. It is a ghost that can be ignored, but when the door is opened into that abyss of memory, it is hard to hide from her.
I let her out this weekend, she helped, she made sure it was perfect. I lost something. I gained something.
The food was enjoyed.
Monday, April 29, 2013
The game that I was introduced to over my special dinner/time-of-the-month dinner was Never Have I Ever. This game was introduced by Polka Dots, the South African girl who was also joining our dinner for the first time. The Irish and the Geisha were all cuddled up and practically living in each others' eyes, hardly aware of what was going on at the rest of the table. Our resident new man in uniform, the Hasher, was hanging in a kilt and trying to not-so-politely hit on anyone. We had a few new people and were doing a great deal to make small talk when the game was introduced.
"Do you know how to play?" she asked.
"Nope." She explained the rules.
"All right, so first you start by making a statement that begins with "Never have I ever." For example "Never have I ever had dinner in this restaurant." If you have done it, you take a drink. If you have not done it, you don't take a drink. If you are drinking with others, than you move on. If you are the only one drinking, then you have to tell the story."
In the back of my mind this seemed like a bad idea.
People went around taking turns, calling out a variety of Never-have-I-evers, which amused the mostly new crowd and worked as a nice way to get to know each other more. I bounced around the table and talked to Quatermain about his evening and his girl, and bounced back and forth, only occasionally trying to engage the Irish and the Giesha in a conversation with someone/something other then their eyes—mostly to no success.
As we wrapped up eating our food it was time to head out to our afterbar, where we could let our hair down and have better drinks. Like of the espresso martini variety. I was all set. At the afterbar our Never Have I Ever game tried to get a little more ludicrous, but what one has to understand is that this crowd was mostly in attendance at a rope-bondage workshop not a few weeks ago, and so was hard to find a way to one-up what has actually been done in a way that would force someone into a story.
"You can also target people," suggested Polka Dots.
I'm sure you could, but we were still new enough that targeting fun stories was out of the question, mostly. The Irish had some fun dragging a few choice stories out of me. It left me wondering how it was that I had come to have so many terribly tawdry tales, but then, well, my life is anything but boring.
We kept talking and that night took on that sort of sultry feeling where everything and anything is potentially possible. It hit that sparkly moment like light shining off of rain-covered windows: quiet, beautiful, full of promise.
Polka Dots was sitting next to me for some reason (I wasn't sure why). Then she giggled.
She covered her mouth and giggled again.
"Yes?" Now I was asking in a way that I could feel in my feet. My Spidey-sense was tingling.
"Oh nothing, talking to O—" Who had not shown up for my party. I was miffed.
"And where is he?"
"Still at the toga party." I yawned; how droll.
"Oh." She smiled and showed me her phone.
O: How is it going?
Polka Dots: Well. I think Sara is trying to seduce me.
O: I think you should let her.
It was the phrasing that was my undoing. I do hate being accused of trying to seduce anyone. I don't try. You either do or do not. If I set my mind to a seduction I am not going to screw that up. Never have I ever been accused of not knowing how to get into a girl's pants when I want to.
I looked at Polka Dots.
"I'd like to kiss you now." While it was a request, it was also a demand, a command, and all the authority of my voice that I can muster and thrown into a whisper in someone's ear.
"Is that a yes?"
"Yes." And with that I took her breath away—rather on purpose—with a deeply passionate kiss that left her more than a little interested. I sat back and smiled, thinking to myself trying...hmpf when she leaned over and kissed me.
This was not going to end well. And of course, it didn't.
Fifteen minutes later we sat back down in front of the table of rather amused, smiling, onlookers...
"Never have I ever had sex in this bar."
We exchanged glances.
And sipped our drinks.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
I just spent about twenty minutes going through my old paintings, and all I could think was, I need to start painting again.
I missed mixing colors together. I missed brushes in my hand. I missed the smell of paint, being alone in front of the canvas with nothing but me and my music. I missed the color, the way it represented me, the way it defined me. I missed looking at shapes and finding meaning, seeing myself in there, somewhere.
I missed being able to say I am an artist and not feeling guilty about it. I missed Saturday mornings trying to hunt down Prussian blue because, I am once again out, and only Prussian blue and Chinese red would completely explain how I feel, and my sentiments.
I missed paint on my naked body when I was alone, and truly inside of my creation. So much time spent creating.
Time to find my way back. It had been over two-and-a-half years since I picked up a brush. Too long. Looking at colors and swirls was stirring memories. Like all my hobbies, I'd stopped. Dropped them to throw myself into work to fill the aching hole that was being so long without my love. And in losing that I had lost myself, somehow.
I needed to find my way back.
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Actually we didn't eat it.
We may have been drinking at touch. I did this dinner once a month that brought all sorts of odd folks down to the city. Granted, what had mostly brought the odd folk down to the city was that I also led a rope-bondage workshop to teach some basic decorative knots. The workshop went well, I taught some simple moves for tying people up, and then we went to dinner.
For the workshop (since I am a good hostess) we bought an assortment of snacks, laid out some cheese, and bought a cake. The cake went mostly untouched. After the workshop, and in the two-hour pause between workshop and dinner, where we tried to get the workshop out of our system, the cake went untouched. The cake did not make it to dinner, and so, the cake was still where we had left it at the beginning of the afternoon. On the table.
The cake was tempting.
The Artist, and the Maiden (a visitor from the southern climes) were both in the kitchen looking at that cake and drinking Jack Daniels—which never really was a very good idea. Or perhaps it was, but after a night of lovely wine and drinking, I was just happy to get home and out of my corset and into a bathrobe.
When suddenly I heard, "I want to just rub that cake all over myself."
"Yeah," The Artist agreed.
"Let's get naked and rub that cake all over ourselves."
"You are going to join us in the naked rubbing of cake all over ourselves, aren't you?" It's really hard to turn down two beautiful woman asking you to join them in naked cake rubbing.
And so, without much further ado, I wound up in the bathroom with two girls, standing in the bathtub and taking handfuls of cake to smear over various parts of our bodies.
There was a quiet knock at the door.
"I have a vagina, may I come in?"
While the dinner had adjourned to my apartment, and three gentleman had come back with us, for the most part the boys were not invited to watch or partake of the cake bit. However, there was also a newcomer joining us for the first time. While I tried not to freak people out the first time they met me, sometimes you just had to smear cake all over the naked bodies of other woman.
The girls were fine with it.
"Sure, come on in," I called to her.
She was all blue eyes and jet-black hair, with a hint of shyness but also curiosity. It was her eyes that stoood out, like pools, and you dropped in them. It was not her only feature that was enchanting: being both large of bust, and tiny of waist she was like a little Japanese doll, a Giesha—at once both strong and delicate. The Giesha did not join us, but she was happy to stand in the corner and watch.
We laughed merrily and want back to our cake. The Maiden turned around "smack my ass with cake!" she cried, and so we did. We smeared handfuls of cake over each others' breasts and nipples, coating ourselves in frosting and taking turns nipping it off. There were cake-like streaks over our bellies and bare bottoms, where fingers and tongues picked up wet trails. We smeared cake on each others' faces and giggled and laughed and made a right mess in the bathroom until we ran out of cake to smash on each other.
"You know, this has got to be low-carb hell," I said.
We giggled again and each took turns washing off the cake, clogging the drain with the cakey aftermath and trying not to slip and slide in the remains.
The next morning, as we all woke up at various times, I asked the Artist to clean the bathroom, which she thankfully did, as I just could not deal with it myself.
As she walked down the hall I heard her exclaim through the apartment "How the hell did cake get on the ceiling?"
The only answer was smiles.
Monday, April 15, 2013
I was almost back at a state of balance, and that meant more writing, which would help the balance. However, it amused me that when it was posted that Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds would be livecast from Coachella—and it just happened to be going on during my lunch break—I had to watch.
What follows is the resulting chaos that ensued. If I could not be at Coachella in person, this was truly, the next best thing.
This is what took place over forty-five minutes:
- Nick Cave, Right now. http://www.youtube.com/coachella, I have no words, my entire freaking body is melting.
- Wow, I forgot just how arousing watching Nick Cave in concert is, I don't think I can stand up for a few minutes. Oh yeah, give me a minute. Sweet mercies, give me a minute.
- I might have to take a little trip to the Little Girls Nick Cave worshiping room. Sweet mercy.
- FROM HER TO ETERNITY....panties dropped. I'm out. Shit, I have to work for four more hours. This is not going to go well.
- And now he is doing RED RIGHT HAND. I am so going to have to fly to Slovenia and touch myself in concert.
- Yes, Nick, yes, SING IT LIKE THAT! DON'T STOP!!!!!
- Q: You should not be allowed in a public forum
- SD: He is touching me in places with his voice. Literally touching me.
- I will do anything you say, Mr. Cave. Anything. "JACK THE RIPPER!!!!!!!!" I'm gonna wish I had brought a change of panties to work.
- Watching me play piano is like watching Nick Cave play piano, only when Nick does it, apparently you pants turn to molten lava!
- C: Wait his pants turn to lava? Or spectators' pants turn to lava? 'Cause I would not be so sure you didn't have the same impact.
- SD: As, I recall, you weren't wearing pants.
- SD: And that sounded much dirtier than I meant, but I think you were in one of those sundresses.
- SD: And I'm just gonna stop digging this hole.
- Oh my fucking God, Nick just took of his jacket and jumped into the audience. Someone, someone, teleport me to L.A stat. And he is singing MOTHER FUCKING STAGGER LEE!!!! You don't even know. You DON'T EVEN KNOW!
- NONONONONONONON FUCK YOU INTERNET, DO YOU NOT CRASH ON ME DURING MOTHER FUCKING STAGGER LEE!
- Apparently watching me watch Nick Cave has upset my co-workers. I miss working from home. Granted, my flatmate would probably not approve of the things I'd have had to do on the couch during lunch.
- I GOT IT BACK. And good night nurse, sweet Nick Cave.
- There is something about the way Nick Cave says get down on your knees and "suck my dick" that makes you want to make that happen. Oh yeah.
- Alright Nick, you have ten minutes. What can you do to me in ten minutes?
- MERCY SEAT!!!! Yes, yes, yes, I will sit on your Mercy Seat. It is waiting, and I do think my head is burning. Also, if I rub my legs together anymore I'm gonna have holes in my jeans.
- Yes, the wind is blowing against Nick Cave as he sings the Mercy Seat, and yes, yes, I am probably going to get fired if anyone realizes what I am doing over here....drool.
- Okay, is it sexual harassment to make your co-workers watch you watching Nick Cave? If so, I'm in trouble. And yes, I did just make them all gather around my computer while I watched Mercy Seat.
- Okay, I had enough time to watch the entire set, I have to skip the encore, but I also need to clean myself up before I go train some teachers.
- That, my friends, was the best Nick Cave set ever, and I just barely had enough time to watch it. Sorry I didn't keep you all posted about watching it though, hard to keep up with Nick Cave, you know.
- The person whose lesson I am watching just asked for some background music. You have no idea how hard it was for me not to play Nick Cave.
- If you hear Nick Cave a rockin, don't come a knockin. No seriously. I suggest just backing away.
Monday, April 01, 2013
Where did March go?
I've been in transition, which means a rather distinct lack in writing, as I generally tend not to write about transition; however, things are starting to taper into something like stability.
And then it was spring in Korea, which of course meant North Korea would attack any minute now. Except, if you have been reading this blog for any length of time you will note that North Korea did this every spring and around every new year with a fair amount of regularity. So much so that, frankly, I got bothered about it for about three days and then relaxed.
I was in Seoul this weekend, knowing that something was happening via some streams of civilian intelligence.
Over lunch I ran into someone I knew.
"So, Sara, are you worried about North Korea?"
"Not any more than usual, why?"
"I just spent twenty minutes talking someone down. They are convinced we are getting bombed any second."
"What did North Korea do this time?" My tone of voice was like that of a teacher with an exasperating child. What did Sally do now? Did she kick the boys again? What is Johnny doing? Do we need to call his mother? It's tiresome and weary at best.
"Apparently they declared war."
"Kinda hard to declare war when we have technically been at war since 1951. That never ended you know."
"No, it didn't," I shot back and went on to enjoy my salad while talking nonchalantly about living in the sea of fire blast radius. Generally, we just didn't care. We were on the ground and it wasn't a big deal. If anything, it was mostly bluster.
Spring in Korea was blooming, the cherry blossoms were out, and I was going to Gyeongju for a field trip on Thursday. Life was all right.
As an aside, here's a very interesting article from the Ask a Korean blog on North Korean cyberterrorism that I thought others might enjoy:
He also has a great perspective on the hullabaloo.