Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Jack Bauer has got nothing on me, baby!

I'm SaraDevil, and this, is the longest day of my life. It started at 6:00 a.m. on December 31st 2007. And so it begins.

It was the day before New Year's that I lay in bed contemplating the upcoming trip and realized that the last thing I wanted in the entire world was to go to Seoul. I wanted a lot of things, but going to Seoul was really not on the list of things I to do. I really dislike Seoul and it never seems to stop. I looked at my pros and cons…

In Daegu there will be fewer people, most having gone to Seoul.

In Daegu most if not all of my friends live.

In Daegu drinking is cheap.

In Daegu I would have a room for the night.

In Seoul everything is more expensive.

In Seoul it will be packed to the max.

In Seoul I will not be able to find a place to put my bags for the night.

In Seoul I'm going to feel lonely.

In Seoul I have few friends, there are a few in Seoul, but as Seoul is huge they are all scattered into various burbs making meeting en masse difficult; and mostly I figured they had plans.

So I decided to stay in Daegu. My New Year's Eve day was intensely busy. First to wake, and coffee and shower; necessities. Then I tried to get a train ticket online but apparently my membership has lapsed. I did not want to wait til the last minute to get a ticket as I was not sure how many people might be traveling the next day. So after breakfast and a little piano practice to relax my nerved, I packed up my bag for work and hit a cab to the station. I picked up a ticket for the first train to Seoul. 6 a.m. on the 1st.

Following I went to work for the last day. The kids are on vacation so it was me picking up my stuff and turning in my work computer. I spent an hour backing up all the files and removing any miscellanea as would be appropriate. I packed up my six boxes of stuff. The six boxes were mostly filled with student survey's. I have something like ten thousand of the damned things from the last two years and I need them for my research. Survey's in the boxes, boxes, in a trunk, trunk back to my apartment for unloading. I have recently moved and now live on the third floor, so I went up the stairs and grabbed a big empty suitcase.

By packing the boxing in the suitcase I managed to move everything up the stairs in two trips. This was a pretty heavy task. I was working hard and I was just near my lifting limit which means that damned case must have weighed somewhere in the neighborhood of 65 kilos, but I put my back into it. I should have thought about that more, but I just wanted to get the stuff up the stairs in as few trips as possible.

At this point lunch time had come and gone and I hadn't noticed. I had some cheese and crackers and decided I should really pack for the trip home. It took a bit but in the end I had myself all packed up and it was only starting to close in on seven o'clock. I tried to relax, I tried to read a book. I spent an hour getting my papers together for my new work visa and making phone calls on that end. I fielded a text message for plans and started to make arrangements.

I decided that if I was going to make it through the next two days I needed a nap. I laid in bed for a while but it just didn't happen. I was too tense and there was too much to go on. Around 9 I called a friend and went to dinner and from there to the bar where I arrived without much fanfare at little after 10:30.

There were not many people out at all, most being at the Lonely Hearts Club for live music. I don't like it when the club is so full that the hearts aren't lonely but rather crushed by the overwhelming press of people, so I avoided the club for Crew Bar. There we drank, we played pool and some kind soul decided to remind us that we were out to celebrate the New Year. We counted down at midnight but it was rather underwhelming amid the pool game, the drinking, and the general good feelings. I fielded hugs and kisses from friends and it started to close in on 1 a.m.

And that's when the alcohol kicked in.

A group was arranged to go to a nori-bang. A nori-bang is a singing room, karaoke if you will, but attended by you and your best friends. I became sort of semi-responsible for getting the group together, though I had not arranged the plans. The original organizers were there and I tossed in a group of a handful more. It took us a bit because several of the party were still drinking.

"Take it with you."


I crossed to the bar and asked for plastic glasses which at this point were on proud display. The bar new this was coming and was prepared. I brought the glasses back and started pouring drinks into plastic cups so we could get the party on the road. One of the girls who is new to Korea just gaped in surprise.

"You can do that here?"

"This is Korea, you can do pretty much anything here." Famous last words?

The party rounded we hit the bitter cold Korean streets. So cold that after a few feet your hands were burning where they touched icy cold plastic encased alcohol, but I pressed the group on and down to the bong so that we could get our music on. As we piled into the room people worked out how to pick songs and I took a bathroom break. The group included two girls, one semi-new (the sorority girls) Korea, one I had met a few months ago (Sportie, very into sports) who still had not passed half a year, a group of about five lifers, and three GI's who'd managed to infiltrate our group. They kept referring to me by name, partly to fit in. Two were very likeable, and I was wary of the third, he was too frat boy, but for nori-bang it's always the more the merrier so why not.

I went down the hall and waited in the line of Korean girls for a few minutes of bathroom time. As I got back to the room, the room I hadn't managed to even get into yet I found the two nicer GI's standing outside.

"What's up?" I asked as I approached the door.

"It's the nipples."

"What nipples?"

"We just figured it would be better to wait outside."

I peaked through the glass walls into our room. The room was made of glass half fogged half not, with streaks of visibility. I looked into the room to find the sorority girl topless and in the warm embrace of the frat boy. I went to open the door and walk in but Sportie stepped out instead.

"I have a problem."

"Okay," I peak through the glass again.

"I'm not sure what to do, I'm going to the bathroom. If you can help my friend, somehow?" and she trailed off down the hall.

I walked in and climbed over the party to get to sorority girl. I whispered in her ear while she continued her tongue dance session.

"Honey, do you want to go home and fuck with the boy here?"


"Do you want to go home with the boy?"

I have rules. One of those rules is not to interfere with two people who want to go home and bang each others brains out. There may be guilt, there may later be regret but each of us is capable of making those decisions, drunk or not. It's how we learn. At the end of the day I believe experience is the best teacher. If sorority girl really wants to go home with the frat boy I'm not going to stop her. She was already half naked in a room full of people at this point so I figure she had enough data to process this situation on her own. Frat boy let go of her for a minute and I repeated my question.

"Do you want to go home with this boy?"

"Why would I want to do that?" She looked around her in confusion. "Wait, where is my bra?"


So I grabbed a jacket and held it over her. Frat boy had the good sense to realize that he had pressed his advantage far enough that night and he exited stage left. I helped the girl find her shirts and told her to pocket the bra and then pulled her out and down to the bathroom. A few minutes later she exited the room and we discovered two things at the same time. One that the toilet was overflowing. Two, and what she didn't notice, was that her bra had fallen in. I pulled her out of the room and pushed her back towards the bong and Sportie. I called the bra a loss, hit the other not broken stall for my own personal relief, and then headed back to the bong where one of the lifers stood outside the door.

"I think I have a problem with my girlfriend."

I looked in the window to find that the girlfriend was under the sorority girl who was continuing her make-out session with a new found partner.

"Well fuck."

I walked in and there was Sportie.

"I think I need to go to the bathroom."

I walked over to sorority girl and asked if she was feeling like going home. To my surprise she said yes. After a few moments and some more untangling the girlfriend was freed, the sorority girl's purse was found, and she and Sportie took off stage right for home. I went back outside of the room for a second to find the two nice guys.

"We are sorry about our friend. I think we are headed out."

We exchanged hand shakes and seasons greetings and I went back into the room where I was finally able to get a song in. Of course, at this point we only had five minutes left on the room. I got my sing on and we left ourselves. I checked the time. It was now 3 a.m. I figured I could make the last two hours to the train so I went back to the bar where pool was played and I enjoyed some freelance tongue wrestling of my own before finally realizing that I was going to be late if I didn't get moving.

I grabbed a cab and hit my place at 5:30 a.m. Ran up the stairs, changed quickly out of my clothes, grabbed my stuff and down the stairs. The alcohol was not doing good things for my coordination at that point, but I needed to move. I ran down the street and flagged a cab to the station. I made it with five minutes to spare.

The day is not over yet.

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