Actually, I’m writing this on Thursday night, the 13th, on the notebook computer that Boil, my co-teacher at school, was kind enough to let me borrow again today. And now, for your reading pleasure, I present an amusing anecdote from this evening…
I just got done eating dinner. Um, wow. Vietnamese noodles…. The waitress, in her infinite kindness and very finite English, tried to warn me when I ordered them. Well, to be precise, she said, “uh…” and then made some violent hand gestures that looked like bombs exploding around her mouth. I smiled and said, “OK.” That, my friends, is what we call in the biz Mistake Number 1. But at the time I’m thinking Hey! I’m a man! I can handle it. Let these little Korean women do their worst! And also, there’s the fact that several Koreans have warned me that the food I’m about to eat is spicy, and it’s never been out-of-my-league, Megan Fox hot… well, except that raw pepper from Mi Jin’s house, but come on, right!?! That’s a raw freaking pepper – this can’t be that bad. Yeah, hold that thought.
So she went back to the kitchen, which is actually in the same room but behind the water cooler. When she told the other ladies back there what I ordered, they all looked over at me and started laughing, so I just laughed right along and gave them the ole thumbs up. Mistake Numero Dos. Yet they obliged and rustled me up a bowl of “Parched Noodles Vietnamese Style,” or some such nonsense. It was steaming hot when she brought it, so I dug into my kimchi and soup and waited for this hot mess to cool down a bit. As I started to stir up the noodles with my handy-dandy chopsticks, even though I hadn’t yet smelled anything, the insides of my nostrils got all tingly. Should have been a clue, right? Uh, yeah. So, I take a bite. And now we’ve arrived at the infamous and potentially deadly Mistake Number D. I later learned that there were some chunks of aforementioned Satan-pepper in the sauce, but that didn’t matter in the slightest. Mixed into this demon-sauce are the devil-seeds and tiny little ground up Beelzebub-bits of what may well have been thousands of those peppers. Several plants worth, anyway, (quite possibly there’s a whole garden of these tended and nurtured by Lucifer himself in the deepest fires of hell, with Brutus and Judas and the practitioners of the legal profession keeping the bugs away) and I’d set my watch and warrant on that, say true and say thankya.
Long story short, after the searing godforsaken heat of the first bite wore off, I tried another one. I’d like to call this my real 4th mistake, but it actually tasted pretty good, once I got used to it. I ate the whole bowl, and it was pretty damn good the whole way, believe it or not. I guess I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that (and I’m not certain about this, because I think I went a little cross-eyed at some point and possibly began hallucinating, but here ya go) I’m fairly sure I saw some snot drip off my chin and into the bowl. Like, quite a lot, actually. I mean, you’d think I’d know for sure, right? Well, you’re obviously assuming that I could feel any part of my face at this particular moment, and that, quite frankly, is a ridiculous assumption for you to make. Plus, it definitely could’ve been sweat. I realized as I walked back to my hotel (in 50 degree weather, mind you) that my heart was pounding like I’d just sprinted a half-mile or so and that I was literally pouring sweat. My hair was soaked (yes, the top of my head was sweating, for fuck’s sake) and I think my pupils were dilating and contracting in time with my heartbeat. I didn’t realize until I got back to the room and looked in the mirror that my lips were all purply and swollen. Ha… hmm, yeah. So anyway, I must have looked quite a sight when I bought some little fresh-baked, piping-hot custard puffs (5 bite-sized pastries for like 75 cents – did I mention I love this country?!?) from a street vendor for dessert and then picked up some coffee on the way home. FYI, most Koreans drink what they call “coffee,” but this drink is a travesty. I’ll explain about this abomination another time.
So that was my culinary adventure for the evening, and I gotta say, I highly recommend it. I haven’t been able to breathe this well in a long, long time. Now it’s back to studying Korean and watching the Korean Basketball League (Can ya say KBL?! Whoo-hoo!) with an African American-looking fellow named, or at least I think he’s named… aw hell, I don’t know. It’s in stupid Korean. More practice is needed, clearly.
Tonight, Sean’s tummy is an upset Korean tummy.