Sunday, February 24, 2013

Bright Lights, Cold City

Friday night and I was at home alone.

I decided that would not stand; I would go out and get some sushi. I tried to rustle up friends on Facebook, but what I constantly seem to learn from trying to rustle up friends in Daegu is that most of the friends I have are on Facebook only and don’t actually exist in the real world.

After putting out a plea and getting no responses, I decided everyone could go straight to hell and I would go have a nice dinner of seafood anyway. Which I did, at the best little sushi place in all of Daegu. The Japanese chefs know me and love  me, so I got at least four free pieces of sushi, a sashimi mini plate,  and eel.

I love eel.

Afterward I still had no plans, so I decided to go have martinis at the best martini lounge in town, which satisfied my urge to say “Shaken not stirred.”

The entire time I sat at the bar, alone, a lone Korean business man sat very nearby. He looked up every minute or so and wondered about trying to start a conversation, but I was engrossed in writing, so he never got to the point of actually asking, which was fine with me.

As the hour grew later and tipped toward eleven, I decided it was time to pack it in and go home.

This time of year the streets of Daegu are cold and sharp and bright. Everywhere you look is a little too real, perhaps a consequence of the crisp cool air that magnifies everything it touches. The lights are burning, shining beacons that burn the eyes. As I approached a corner, I had a choice of turning into the thrumming noisy downtown and perhaps passing my beloved Lonely Hearts, or heading up and toward the back alleys, away from the noise and the alluring shininess of the Daegu nightlife.

I opted for the latter and wound my way through an alley I had not been down in quite some time. My mind was buzzing with just how muchand just how quicklythe city of Daegu had changed over the years. Bars that I have written of fondly have come and gone, as have restaurants and people. Places that were institutions were now under new facades and new operation. As my life kept changing and reinterpreting itself I wondered at the changes that were taking place. I was like this city that I loved, on this bright and cold night, feeling a little bit too real.

And inside of it, as I walked through cold streets and lonely back alleys, I began to feel less and less so.

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