Wednesday, July 02, 2008

With breasts like these....

I find myself in a darkened Lonely Hearts club waiting for anyone to come in at 8pm on a Wednesday evening. The point of my lonely vigil to meet Americans abroad who might not be registered to vote. Together with a few friends I'm working on a campaign to get people registered for their absentee ballots. I feel more activist about the vote this year than I have in at least ten years. Here in Korea I'm doing my small part.

So I sit at a table for the three hour vigil I've signed up for and finally around nine thirty some people enter the bar. Alas they are all GI's and they all come in and hush immediately seeing me there, then stop, then turn, then by drinks then carefully ignore me. I'm almost positive that they had no idea that there were other foreigners in Korea that drank, particularly female ones. Most of the time the GI's frequent loud night clubs and dance with Korean girls and are the reason for the pat downs that are frequently endured by teachers going to dance. In all they can be nice guys but they are all terribly young and seem so foolish.

I turn back to my book and just keep to myself. Finally I give up and move to the bar around 10, taking all my books and papers with me just in case someone comes in to sign up. I get a phone call and invite the Jogger to come join me in the bar. Her plans for the evening were to stay home and be suicidally lonely. I convinced her that a night of live music might be more fun and she agreed to try it. She wandered in around 10:30 and the reasons for the GI's presence was making itself known playing loud music from the corner on this open mike night. They were the audience for the band, the very good band. I can appreciate guys who will come out for good music.

The Jogger gets a cola and a water, I have another water and a tequila. We talk and are generally amused. One of the GI's finally eyes us talking in the corner and comes over to order his beer by standing directly between us.

"Hi," he says to my breasts.

We both smile at him, and around him at each other.

"Where are you from?"

"Alabama. I'm southern."

"Yeah, the accent is a bit of a give away. How long have you been in-country?"

"Bout four months."

"What do you think?"

"Not as much fun as Aba Grab." I try to decide if that is sarcasm as he walks away with his beer. We girls continue to enjoy ourselves and snark a bit about the slowly getting drunker crowd of boys who are soon going to leave. I explain to her about the GI's as she has never seen them about before. basically that curfew is around midnight which is why they are out so early and why the will leave so soon.

Albama comes back to chat up the Jogger who I carefully pull aside to ask if she is okay with the obvious come ons and over eager touching. She's fine, she says to me "beats sitting home crying." To that I cannot argue.

We trade conversations with Alabama, I ask where he's been.

"Just in from Iraq, was in Baghdad for sixteen months. Was only supposed to be about twelve months but than Bush managed to get things changed around to keep us there longer. This is like a vacation compared to that."

"Well, less chance of getting blown up on the streets, I suspect."

"Only idiots with their pants down will get an IED."

He turns back to his drink and is quiet for a moment, and we let him be quiet. The Jogger makes herself scarce to visit the littler joggers room up the stairs and Alabama turns to me.

"You're friend is really beautiful."

"She is. I find her to be most desirable."

"Really, you?"

"Yeah."

"Huh. Well, you should know, with breasts like those you could have any man in the bar."

I managed to keep from looking down my blouse but I do laugh rather loudly and unexpectedly at Alabama. "I'm not sure, but I think that was a compliment."

"Definitely."

"Well thank you. Aren't you guys out past curfew," I glance at my clock, well on the way to 1 am.

"Yeah, but it's worth it for this kinda company."

We buy each other a drink and I smile as he and the Jogger take to trying to do country line dancing to the Italian singer that takes stage to sing.

I mention to the Jogger that is past one am and she realizes that it's time to go for that early morning job she has. I let Alabama take her up the stairs and wait politely before I exit into the rain and the warm humid night.

"I feel so much more alive." She says to me, dripping water from the monsoon rains are falling as I pull her away from Alabama and under my umbrella.

In all I managed to sign up one person to vote, but the night did not feel wasted.

1 comment:

kodeureum said...

I'm left wondering if I've met the jogger. You can probably guess why I didn't come in to Daegu that day. I've ben meaning to catch an open mic one of these weeks but inertia seems to have taken over, especially since our visit to Tsushima last week.

Those belly dance photos were taken at a fundraising event last November that also involved a buffet, speed-dating and salsa lessons. You probably were invited, actually...