Monday, September 29, 2008

Bananas and Other Kinds of Happy

There was a time, a few months back, when I just completely crapped out emotionally. It was probably a few months after my friend had died, a time during which I was doing relatively stupid things in order to deal with my shit. I was drinking in excess, making friendships that teetered a weird line between too friendly and not even remotely friendly, and just generally fucking up everything in my path. Just because I could. During one particular weekend, I finally just lost it.

I was at some random bar in Daegu. Something or other occurred which apparently bothered me. Whatever it was, what followed is a thoroughly embarrassing blur. I started rambling incoherently to the first available ear about how my self esteem was in the dumps. I then jumped out of my chair so that I could go throw stuff at the wall in the bathroom, then ran out of the bar. This is clearly one of those weeks where I wasn't getting very many hugs, and I'm quite fortunate and thankful that the available ear bothered to associate with me in the days following my embarrassing display of Crazy.

Apparently I carried on the display of Crazy outside of the bar, where I ran into another available ear that I happened to know, by continuing to ramble that I hadn't gotten enough hugs that week and then beating the shit out of my umbrella (or, rather, the umbrella that I had grabbed when I left the bar. It turns out that mine was still there when I returned the next day).

Kind of like this guy. Except that this is Korea, where the only green you'll see in an alleyway is vomit.

When I eventually woke up in my own bed the next day, I could hardly bring myself to look in the mirror. Of course, when I finally did, I probably said something like: "suck it up, asshole". And suck it up, I did. I convinced myself that the worst was over, and now I just needed to buy some ice cream and everything would get better.

The ice cream never happened. When I got to the store, I found a display of magnificently ripe bananas. I decided that they were the most perfect, vibrant colour of yellow ever, and that I absolutely had to have them. I realized how silly it was to get so happy over the colour of bananas, but it didn't matter; I had sucked it up and found a way to salvage the day with a smile.

I'm recalling this now, because lately I've been fighting off similar levels of emotion. Leaving Korea in 5-6 weeks puts me about 5-6 weeks from unemployment and uncertainty. And while the first thing I'm going to do when I get home is see everybody that matters (and have a roast beef sandwich at Arby's), I have a grave to visit, too.

Today, when I could have easily smashed another umbrella or found some other unproductive source for my anger, I found something to smile about instead. Like the bananas, it was silly and simple, but it saved my day. As I was exiting the subway car, ready to bolt to my apartment where I would crash and debate throwing things, I saw a little old lady coming down from the escalator. She saw that the subway was about to close it's doors, and ran for it. This woman had the hugest grin on her face the entire time, and giggled like a bloody school girl and waved her hands in victory when she successfully got on the car, just in time for the doors to close behind her. It was like making the train was not just the best part of her day, but the most awesome thing that had happened to anybody. Ever.

If Random Subway lady can be that happy about making the train, I can suck it up and smile today, too.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Quit Riding My Ass

There's a game that I like to play from time to time, when I'm feeling uneasy. It's called Quit Riding My Ass. The object is to get people to quit riding my ass. I have a serious hate-on for People Tailgaters. If I can feel you breathing on my neck, then you're walking too fucking close.

Quit Riding My Ass is not a new game. I've been playing it for years. People Tailgaters exist everywhere that I've ever been (this does not account for Africa, Europe, South America, or most of Asia, though I suspect that they've been known to breed in these spots as well).

There are no official rules to the game. As long as you successfully get the perpetrator to stop riding your ass, then you come out on top. My preferred method is to simply come to a sudden stop and let the moron People Tailgater run into me. They tend to react to this with confusion or annoyance, followed by a brisk walk away. Either way, problem solved.

There are obviously going to be times when it's grossly inappropriate to play Quit Riding My Ass. These would be times when People Tailgating is done by necessity. Playing Quit Riding My Ass in the middle of Times Square would make one the worthy recipient of a punch in the face. But all other times, when riding the ass of the other person in front of you is entirely unnecessary, the People Tailgater is asking for whatever comes their way.

A friend of mine here protests my playing this game in Korea. She says that I'm being ignorant, because they don't have the same concept of personal space as us Canada folk. She went as far as to suggest that I deserve a punch in the face for acting like this here. I told her that all was well, because I'm treating the locals here exactly how I treat the locals at home. I don't discriminate, and hate all People Tailgaters equally! Clearly, her point was lost on me. Someday, when I do get a punch in the face for intentionally stopping in front of People Tailgaters, I will accept that I totally deserved it.

And then go right back to playing Quit Riding My Ass.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Would You Wear This Shirt?

As I was trying to determine what exactly constitutes a funny Konglish t-shirt last week, I kept bringing to mind those I had seen which teetered the line between hilarious and grossly fucking inappropriate. The young man on the subway who's shirt read "Free Pony Rides", with the arrow pointing down toward his crotch managed to keep things on the side of hilarity by virtue of being of legal age. But what to make of those questionably phrased Konglish t-shirts that come in child sizes? Say, this one:

It's grammatically incorrect on top of being totally fucking wrong.

This shirt wins. Twice.

I found this goody while wandering around in J-Mare, looking precisely for something this awesome. J-Mare is a place that I originally started going to for long sweaters and cheap, half decent blouses, but have since started going to in search of ridiculous t-shirts.

(As an aside, you can find long sweaters and cheap, half decent blouses at the street markets. But, I hate people. I especially hate many people, crowded into narrow corridors. Going to J-Mare allows me to avoid this, while still paying relatively low prices.)

Now, as I alluded to earlier, shirt sizes here tend to run from petite to I-just-ate-a-cookie-and-am-full-petite. This particular shirt would fit perfectly on any of my 11 to 14 year old students. Or, it's the type of fit you'd expect to see on an adult female who wears her shirts way too tight in order to emphasize her breasts and attempt to disguise her obvious insecurities. Yes, I'd totally wear a shirt of that fit. And I fully expect the three people that I purchased that exact shirt for to wear that fit, too.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Barbie and Pusan Bank Reconcile

Earlier this month I wrote two posts detailing my tedious ordeal with one of the smaller branches of Pusan Bank. I was seriously pissy, not terribly concise, and I clearly hadn't gotten enough hugs that week. As it turns out, not all branches of Pusan Bank are evil, my panties have managed to untwist themselves slightly, and I still haven't gotten enough hugs recently.

After having wasted an hour of my day and shed two years off my life expectancy from the stress of my last visit to Pusan Bank, I smartened up and went to one of the larger branches in the city. This is exactly what I should have been doing in the first place, but having gotten to that point that I no longer know what a funny Konglish T-shirt is, I forgot that foreigners occasionally need to jump through hoops to get things done in Korea Land.

The moment that I sat down in the waiting area designated for those wiring money out of Korea (and probably a number of other services that are more important to the bank, but of zero interest to me), a man that I recognized from the last time I had gone to this branch stood up and waved me over. His English was spectacular, which is nice, but not something that I expect of Random Bank Guy in Korea. He recognized me from the last time, too, and pushed my request through in less than 10 minutes. When I asked him what the deal was with the other branch, he began talking to me in Bank Talk. I got bored of Bank Talk rather quickly, on account of my craptacular attention span, and decided to simply let the matter go.

For the time being, my promise to immediately close the account if Pusan Bank gave me any trouble wiring money home again remains untested. There will be no promises that I won't act like a gigantic brat again should it end up happening again. In the meantime, I'm reasonably content with them.

Now, off to work on the hugs issue.

How Barbie Lost Her Korean Blog Links

In the midst of changing templates for the 35th time, I lost all of my links. All 5 of them. This could have been avoided, had I decided to back things up before swapping out the entire template, but that move would have required forethought.

I'm completely lacking in forethought.

I've managed to retrieve the links to a couple of blogs by checking site referrals and other geeky stuff, but have lost whatever else I might have had up. So, if I had your link up and it's no longer up, just tack a comment on here or email me and I'll add it. If I was never linking to you in the first place but you'd like me to, drop me a line.

In the meantime, if you happened to stumble across me by accident and want a way out, check The Korean Blog List for related (perhaps more suitable) content.

Friday, September 19, 2008

You Know That You've Been in Korea Land Too Long When...

As I near the one year anniversary of my arrival to Korea, I find myself less and less observant of the crazy World of Korea Land. A random parade of giant golden frog statues on the backs of pickup trucks, flying through Deokcheon at dinner time? Big deal. Random Korean food stuffs? Whatever. If it's not still moving, I've probably already tried it (gotta draw the line somewhere). Two particular incidents over the past week have led me to realize that perhaps I've been here just a touch too long.

Over the past year, I've collected some random Konglish t-shirts to bring home as hilarious presents for Whoever. Konglish t-shirts are essentially just t-shirts that say random English words on them, or words that are almost English, in some bizarre order, with hilarious potentially consequences. I was looking through the t-shirts that I had bought over the year, when it dawned on me: I no longer find the Konglish t-shirts that I bought in my first few months here funny. I was appalled to discover that I had purchased such weak examples of Konglish t-shirts. Having been spoiled by the sight of awesome Konglish t-shirts on a daily basis, I no longer have any concept of what constitutes just a slightly funny Konglish t-shirt. Some days, the level of my English has dipped so low, that I can hardly distinguish between Konglish and proper English. A sad, but, true story. I spent five minutes in a boutique the other day trying to figure out if I would have found a t-shirt that said "wet heads" in huge letters, with other random words underneath, regarding keeping your friends close, funny. Conclusion? If I have to ask, I've been here too long.

There are roughly 800 hospitals in my immediate neighbourhood, to accommodate the 62000 Koreans who live within a 3 meter proximity to me. This only a slight exaggeration. There are so many hospitals in my immediate area, that one would have to try hard not to see a random hospital patient wandering around the streets in their gown, wheeling an IV drip alongside them, at least a couple of times per week. The first day that I encountered one of these, the patient looked particular ill and walked with a limp. I was convinced that she was a zombie and went home scared. This week when I encountered a pair of men sitting outside of the Home Plus (grocery store), both in hospital gowns and hooked up to IV drips, just chillin' out, I didn't even look twice. It didn't even dawn on me until hours later that two guys hanging out at a busy intersection in hospital gowns, hooked up to needles, is fucking bizarre. I'm not from Vancouver; I'm not used to that shit. Or rather, I'm not used to being used to that shit. I don't like being used to that shit! That shit is whack.

I could continue all day with further illustrations of how I've clearly been here too long, but won't, because it's almost 6am and I still have two fried computers to fix. Let's just say that my trip home in November can't possibly come too soon.

(As an aside, I will likely be back early next year, and will be continuing the blog from home either way. I look forward to pissing on Canada for a few months)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Barbie, Why Do You Keep Changing Your Blog?

I've recently been switching templates and reorganizing stuff around here for the same reason that I frequently refer to myself in the third person, using a moniker that isn't even close to my real name: Because I'm crazy. In truth, I'm planning on moving the blog and creating my own template for it once I'm an unemployed bum back in Canada Land with too much time on my hands. In the mean time, if I do anything particular offensive, feel free to comment.

If You Don't Vote, You're Probably An Asshole.

True to form, Stephen Harper decided to inconvenience me as much as possible by calling an election exactly one month to the date that I’m due to return to Canada. The good news is that this is not 1908, and I still have time to vote (by mail-in ballot). The bad news is that I have to vote; I consider all options different, but nearly equally awful. I’ve considered spoiling my ballot, but won’t. Who I will probably end up voting for and why is completely irrelevant to my point, which is: If you don’t vote, you’re probably an asshole. Here’s why:

62.8% of registered voters showed up to vote over the past two federal elections. That leaves roughly 8.5 million registered voters, per election, who just couldn’t be fucking bothered to vote. Roughly 7.5 million of those can be found around your office or local supermarket whining about how their taxes are too high, gas is too expensive, they know a guy who knows a guy that had to wait 36 hours at the Emergency Room to get his arm sewed back on, and their child shares a classroom with several dozen other students. I invite you to punch each and every one of these 7.5 million people in the face.

The 37.2% of registered voters who couldn’t be bothered to cast a ballot over the past two elections held in their hands, collectively, the power to make our country a different place. Instead, they sat idly on their hands, and let the rest of us handle the task of deciding who should map the course for our country over the next little while. Then, a good number of these people got off of their hands so that they could wave them around as they bitched endlessly about the results of our choices. Are you fucking kidding me?

People who just can’t be fucking bothered to vote have been known to present a myriad of terrible excuses, including (but not limited to) the following:

I don’t care.
I don’t like the available choices.
The polling station is too far away.
I work that day.
My vote won’t make a difference.

Some people truly don’t care. I am 100% behind their right to not bother voting this year. Those who truly don’t care, don’t bitch when the rest of us vote in an inept government. They’re exempt from deserving a punch in the fact. As for the rest:

Many of us bitch about our so-called choices. If you truly hate all of your options, then you have the choice to either select the lesser evil (also known as the party which is most aligned with your priorities), or spoil your ballot. While I don’t generally condone spoiling your ballot, as it has the same direct result as not voting at all, at least you’ve made the effort to demonstrate that you’re not apathetic; you just think that the choices suck.

Many of us live far away from our scheduled polling booth. As I noted earlier, this is not 1908. One month is more than enough time for you to sign up for a mail-in ballot. Few people are further away from their polling booth than I am, and I’m still going to vote. So boo fucking hoo.

Work is not an excuse. Even if you happen to have one of those jobs that requires you to work for the entire period of time that the polling stations are open, in Canada your employer is required to give you some time off during the day so that you can go cast a vote. Problem solved.

The “my vote won’t make a difference” crowd deserves not one, but two punches in the face. They are the absolute worst offenders among those who can’t be bothered to vote. These are people who have an opinion, but would rather sit around and wallow in self pity that their riding is too conservative/liberal for their widdle liberal/conservative heart to bear, than cast a vote for a candidate who is unlikely to be victorious. What these people fail to take into consideration is that, while their individual vote won’t make up the thousands of votes needed, if they and the other million people that are sitting around sad that their party of choice didn’t get enough hugs this year would just bother to fucking vote, the outcome of the overall election may very well have been different.

Tomorrow I will be faxing in my information to the Canadian Government, in the hopes that they’ll get a mail-in ballot package back to me in time for me to turn it around and get it back to them by October 14. I don’t trust them to succeed in this, but I will at least know that I’ve done absolutely everything I can to ensure that I cast a ballot in the federal election. If I don’t vote in this election, “The Canadian Government failed to ship my mail-in ballot package before the election was held” is a damn good excuse.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Death of No Name Student

That was short lived.

On my way to class today, I asked the teacher who shares No Name Student's class with me if she knew what No Name's name was. Sally Teacher told me that No Name Student hadn't felt inclined to share her name, so she didn't really know. Suzy Student, a member of No Name Student's class, walked by at this time. Sally Teacher consulted with Suzy Student, who also had no idea what No Name's name was. Sally Teacher apologized and then walked off. Suzy Student explained to me that Sally Teacher had been calling No Name Student "No Name" as well. This was awesome, but not helpful.

As much as I felt that No Name Student had earned her moniker, every now and then I feel like a bit of an asshole openly mocking a 12 year old in front of other 12 year olds. It's like I remember the time that I became way to old for that shit, back when I was 15, and it stops being quite as much as fun. Then I remember how irritating I find said 12 year old, and do it anyways. It looked like another name of calling out No Name Student was in store.

At the beginning of most of my classes, I write all the tike's names on the board. I remind them that if they speak Korean without asking my permission first, they'll get a big scary check mark! Because check marks are scary. I can't believe that this works. Depending on the level of the class, they get between 1 and 3 chances. I don't forbid Korean in my classroom; I just don't want to hear it, unless it's being used to discuss the lesson. The more mature students don't require this, primarily because they are not 10 and can actually stay on topic with me. I suspect that they may still be afraid of check marks.

I usually write the names in alphabetic order, because I'm anal like that. Just this once, I wrote the names in order of seating, to give No Name Student a chance to redeem herself. It made me feel a bit queasy, not going alphabetically. Thankfully, this was not in vain. Just before writing "No Name Student" on the board, I looked at her and placed the marker on the board. "Teacher, Min Ju!", she yelled. I told her that I was happy to learn that she had a name.

And with that, No Name Student was no more.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Birth of No Name Student

Here is reason 37 why I don’t bother to prepare for my classes: After spending 10 minutes of my life preparing the lesson plan and accompanying game or activity, the odds of me arriving to class and finding faces that I’ve never seen before is about one in ten. The odds of somebody informing me prior to class that I might find new faces that day is precisely one in one hundred. Hence, after having spent ten minutes determining how much of the lesson we should cover that day, and how many copies of everything is needed for the activity, a huge chunk of class is spent initiating the new student. The 10 minutes of my life spent planning ahead for a lesson that we wouldn’t have time for, could have been used planning an activity that accounted for the new face. But, no. That would make way too much sense.

Last week I found yet another random face in one of my elementary level classes. I decided to start the ball rolling from the most obvious point: did this random face have a name? No. As it turns out, she did not. Every now and then I get a new student that refuses to speak to me. They speak English perfectly fine and they understand what I'm saying - they just see no reason to respond to basic questions like: What is your name? This is a problem. After two minutes of torture, trying to get the new student to stop giggling and provide me with her name, I resolved this the only way I knew how: I assigned her a name.

I don’t generally like to name my students. I would much rather learn their Korean name than assign them an English one. My efforts are usually undermined by one of the Korean teachers, who end up giving them an English name anyways. They often forget to inform me of this point, and I’ll spend another month horribly mispronouncing some kid’s name, until the class decides to let me in on the joke. If I do get stuck having to name a student, I have the class brainstorm some names on the board and have the student pick the one that they like best. Given the new student’s refusal to use her words to communicate with me, I was going to just have to pull a name out of a hat. I had two bits of information about this student to go on: she apparently had no name, evidenced by her refusal to provide me with one, and she giggled a lot. No Name seemed more descript and less creepy than Giggles, so No Name Student was born.

The other students thought that No Name Student was a hilarious moniker, and broke into fits of laughter every time I called on her. The rest of the class, with the exception of her cousin, clearly thought No Name Student was a moron. See, No Name Student knew perfectly well that I was asking her name, and she even understood when I specified that I’d like to know her real (Korean) name. Any doubt of this was removed when Loud Student asked to speak Korean so that he could clarify whether or not she was shy, or just an idiot. Given that she spent the rest of the week after this shouting Hello at me and giggling, when she’s about three years too old for this to still be acceptable behaviour, it’s clearly the latter case.

Any guilt or sense of shame felt over having named a 12 year old “No Name Student” has been eased by her continued asshattery throughout the week. Someday, she might get the memo that foreigners are only funny the first time that you meet them - after that, they almost become like Real People. Until then, her moniker of No Name Student sticks.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Barbie and the Pusan Bank Incident - Part 2

As I was waiting to have my money wired home from the local Pusan Bank, The Boss Man and the bank tellers chatted back and forth at one another. The Boss Man did his best to work as a translator between us.

The Boss Man: They say you can send 300 000 won now. Ok?
Me: Why only 300 000 won?
The Boss Man: They say 300 000 won most foreigners can send. Ok?
Me: No. I have to pay VISA. Tell them to look at my papers, which clearly indicate that I’ve twice sent much more than that.

The Boss Man and the bank tellers chat amongst themselves for a while again.

The Boss Man: They say new rule. 300 000 only. Only more if you can show them pay.
Me: You mean the pay stubs that you give me which show how much you paid me? I have those. All of those. Right here. *point to the stack of pay stubs on the counter in front of me, which the tellers had refused to take from me earlier*

The Boss Man looked relived that this might be over, and handed the pay stubs to the tellers. They chatted further, and The Boss Man began to look slightly less relieved.

The Boss Man: They say 300 000 won for foreigner.
Me: WHY?
The Boss Man: New rule.
Me: They said I needed pay stubs. We gave them those. Tell them that I’ve done this process with other branches of Pusan Bank and there was no problem.

The Boss Man and the bank tellers chat amongst themselves again. One of them picks up a phone, which The Boss Man explains to me is a translator who is going to explain to me what is going on. While The Boss Man’s English is good enough to get by, it’s not quite sufficient for explaining bigoted, fabricated bank policies.

Translator: Next time you uh, uh… Pusan Bank, you need uh.. more information.
Me: More information?
Translator: Documents. You need..
Me: Passport? Alien card? Pay stubs? The guy who pays me sitting right here? Bank information for Canada? Previous Pusan Bank statements which indicate that transfers have been made before? What else could they possibly need?
Translator: When send more than uh, uh, 300 uh, hundred… no, 300 thousand.. need documents. Legal…
Me: I have any legal documentation that they could possibly need. This is not a legal matter; this is a matter of institutionalized bigotry. I even have the guy who pays me, legally, sitting right here, and they can’t wire my money?!

Just short of breaking out into a tirade of expletives, I pounded the phone on the counter. “I’m done talking to him”, I told The Boss Man. The translation service that the bank called actually employed a guy who didn’t have working knowledge of English numbers, and spoke even poorer English than The Boss Man. And he was supposed to be able to properly explain imaginary bank policies to me? Oh.

The Boss Man and the tellers chatted again for a while, looking a touch uncomfortable to be in the presence of somebody so seemingly volatile. This went on for at least 5 more minutes – the bank tellers would explain something to The Boss Man, he would try to explain it to me, and I’d tell him to tell the bank tellers that I thought their bank was bigoted, that there was no reason they couldn’t send my money home, and that if they weren’t going to send it home immediately, I wanted to close my account. Now. I then pulled out my KB card (another bank here) and told him to tell them that I’d go there, where perhaps racism wasn’t all the rage. He was confused as to what I meant by racism. I pointed at my cheek and told him that they’d wire my money to Canada if I didn’t look so foreign. It was about this time that I started to feel a little bit embarrassed for having made The Boss Man the official translator between my temper tantrum and the fucking bank tellers.

In the end, the bank tellers agreed to wire my money that day, so long as The Boss Man promised to fax them something that they already had right in front of them: proof of payment from the place of employment listed on my working VISA. When I got back to Barbie Hagwon with The Boss Man, he had Rambo Teacher explain to me what the bank translator couldn’t: that Pusan Bank had a new, imaginary bank policy, whereby if you send more than 3 million won (about 3000 dollars) out of the country in one year, you need your boss to complete some bullshit paperwork in order to send any more. When The Boss Man then asked it was okay now, I nearly went off again. But then I realized he was just asking if I understood – not if I liked it. And really, The Boss Man was fantastic throughout this entire ordeal. So, I told him that all was well and thanked him profusely for his assistance.

I can’t even being to comprehend how utterly, fucking stupid this entire situation was. I later consulted with several of my friends, who also used Pusan Bank, to confirm my suspicion that my local branch was creating bank policy out of their asses. There was no legal reason for them to make it so difficult for me to wire money home. This was not a universal Pusan Bank policy. There wasn’t a single piece of documentation that they could have asked for that I didn’t have with me. The very man who sponsored my working VISA, the address of who’s institution is permanently etched on said VISA, who pays me out of his own Pusan Bank account, was sitting right there, with identification! Yet, they couldn’t just do their job. They were simply dicking me around because nobody has yet distributed the memo around Korea that dicking around foreigners just because you can, isn’t cute. My temper tantrum, complete with accusations of bigotry and cries of institutionalized racism, wasn’t exactly cute either. But that’s what it took

The Boss Man and I decided that next time I should go to a larger branch. I decided that if I have any hassles from Pusan Bank again, I will close my account with them. I’ve been here 10 months, and this is the first time I’ve had to deal with bullshit of this magnitude. Really, I’m fortunate. That said, if this nonsense ever becomes the norm here, I won’t be back.

Barbie and the Pusan Bank Incident - Part 1

Fuck Pusan Bank.

A couple of weeks ago, I swung by the Pusan Bank near my school so that I could wire some money home. Sending money home so that I can pay off the disgusting load of bills that are waiting for me in Canada Land is the primary reason that I came to Korea. Seeing the world and pretending that I’ve become more culturally enlightened is fun and all, but if it didn’t pay to be here I’d still be drinking Coors Light at my local drinking hole, wondering why opening day of the NHL season isn’t a national holiday. Anything that comes between me and the dissolution of my disgusting load of bills provokes ire that can only be extinguished by my causing a minor public spectacle.

While I had heard that dealing with the banks in Korea has the potential to be loads of hassle for a foreigner, my own experiences had been positive. Whenever I needed to send money home I made a point of bringing every piece of legal identification and paperwork involving payments (from my legal place of work) that I had at my disposal. Nobody had actually bothered to look at my pay stubs in the three times that I had wired money home, and one didn't even bother with my alien card, but no matter: I kept bringing them with me, in the off chance that this branch would require them.

Given that I usually spend no more than 20 minutes at the bank when I’m wiring money to Canada, I thought that the 50 minutes I had between classes that day would be plenty. Everything proceeded as usual, right up until the point that the girl who clearly had no idea what she was doing was asked to take over and finish the job that the guy who did know what he was doing, had been doing. How could this possibly fail?! After taking approximately 5 minutes to learn the system and sort out what exactly she was supposed to be doing, the woman proceed to stare at the computer screen and look confused. For ten minutes. Ten fucking minutes. Occasionally, when she noticed me glance at her with impatience, she would fiddle with the papers in front of her and pretend to do something. Then she would go back to staring. She eventually gave up trying to mentally manipulate the objects on the screen so that they’d make sense to her, and called the original bank teller back over. The two of them jabbered for a while, and then began speaking to me in Korean. Because the first several times that they tried to do this, where I explicitly told them I didn’t speak Korean, indicated to them that it would be a good expenditure of everybody’s time if they explained bank policy to each other, as I watched.

As it was clear that I was going to be late for my class at this point, I called The Boss Man. After explaining to him that I was having issues at the bank and didn’t understand what the hold up was, he told me that he’d be right over to bail me out. That was unexpected. I had expected him to be at least moderately annoyed with me, and hadn’t even considered the possibility that he’d come down to the bank to help me out. I had clearly underestimated his degree of awesome.