Sunday, October 26, 2008

Barbie and The Douche Master

Korea Land is every bit as rich with douchebags as Canada Land. Merely existing here has resulted in exposure to the following charmers:

  • Subway Soju Man, who felt that 9pm was an appropriate time to be a drunk ass.

  • Random Frat Boy, who felt that a bar fight and threatening text messages were the appropriate response to common courtesy.

  • The President of Dyssemia Anonymous (a weak nickname, in hindsight, but what's done is done), who incorrectly interpreted my complete disinterest in knowing him as a cry for help.

There have been countless others, but these three serve as illustrations of the various types of douchebag that have been known to insist on crossing my path and speaking to me (having said that, there is at least a faint possibility that I invite the attention of douchebags, on account of my being an ass). Now, before somebody gets sad that I'm only picking on men here, I assure you: I have bitch stories, too. Someday, I might even share one. Today, I feel like taking a trip down memory lane and spitting up a tale about the douchiest douche that ever did douche. Going forward, he shall be referred to as The Douche Master (TDM).

It was the last Wednesday in January. I had decided that there was no time like the middle of the work week to run up to Daegu and get inappropriately drunk. I hadn't been entirely sober in about three days, since I'd first learned of Kyle's death. As such, I was on the brink of going from confused to really fucking angry. Had I been aware that there was anger to be unleashed, my dishonourable encounter with The Douche Master could have been avoided.

I met with a few friends of mine, who had darlingly dropped everything on a week night to come out to the bar and watch me respond to crisis by absolutely wrecking myself. At some point during a series of conversations where friends shared their own stories of grief, a man wove his way over to our table and decided to strike up conversation about how spectacular he thought he was. The Douche Master knew how to make an entrance.

As I longed for a distraction, his pompous monologue was initially welcomed. After entertaining us for a few minutes (though not quite in the sense that I suspect he thought he was entertaining us), he wandered off, presumably because he heard word that the rest of the room had been seriously deprived of awesome since he left it.

With the welcome distraction gone, one of my friends and I got back on the heartwarming topic of death. The Douche Master, having received imaginary word that now our part of the room was void of awesome, decided to shift back our way within a couple of moments; right in the middle of a good conversation, and perhaps the only moment that night that I didn't want a distraction. Cutting me off as if I didn't exist, he began trying to court my friend by explaining to her how awesome he thought he was. Bored, wanting to get on with the only productive conversation I'd had that night, and knowing that my friend though TDM was a Neanderthal, I politely interrupted and explained that I was having a serious discussion that required completion. While it's grossly unlikely that I was quite that poised and polite in my use of language, the point is that I wasn't yet being an ass.

The Douche Master, in disbelief that somebody would dare interrupt his irresistible barrage of come ons, decided that ignoring me was the best course of action. He was wrong. He moved closer to my friend, cutting me off completely from the conversation. I responded in turn by getting in his face and slightly less politely telling him that he'd interrupted an important conversation, that I would like to continue. The Douche Master advised me that he was now having an important conversation with my friend, and I could wait until they were finished.

And this is about where shit hit the fan.

Drunk, my confusion immediately flipped to rage, and here we had the perfect, most deserving of targets to take it out on: The Douche Master. Slamming my pint down on the table, I said something to the effect of: "If you'd excuse me, my friend just fucking died and I need to talk about it. That, and my friend does not want to fuck you. She has a boyfriend. She's laughing at you. We all are. So fuck off".

Now, in hindsight, drunkenly slamming pints around and yelling at perfect strangers because your friend just died and you're angry, isn't appropriate behaviour. But it's excusable. It's understandable. And it's something that anybody with even a shred of basic human emotion can see and know to let be. What followed my less than admirable behaviour is what separates The Douche Master from the other douches, and moves him into a category of Total Fucking Cunt which is all his own.

The Douche Master examined me for a brief moment, as I gripped my beer mug, blinked back tears, and shook in anger. He then responded with: "Well, I need to talk to her, too. My parents died yesterday".

9 months later, and I still don't know what the fuck you're supposed to say to that. Or how the Hell anybody who has ever felt what it's like to be human could possibly retort in that manner. My response at the time was to tell him what a disgusting pile of excrement I thought he was, splash my beer at him, then run to the bathroom before I tried to throw a table at him, too. Aside from the fact that I would undoubtedly get removed from the bar for doing that, he was a big man who had just demonstrated that he lacked empathy; I have no doubt that he would have snapped me in half. Running to the bathroom is perhaps the most appropriate thing I did over that span of 40 seconds.

One of my friends followed me to the bathroom, where I apologized for my behaviour and concluded that we should probably just empty our drinks and leave. We return downstairs to find The Douche Master talking to the bar tender, attempting to get me kicked out of the bar for "attacking" him. Anger ensued. Seething, I pulled my friend's obituary out of my purse and threw it on the table in of the bar tender and The Douche Master. A friend of mine, who also knows the bar tender, attempted to explain what happened, as The Douche Master interrupted her in order to share his own twisted version of events. Unable to fathom how one could possibly be so bad at life, I grabbed my belongings and fled the bar.

I see The Douche Master out in Daegu from time to time, still. Every time, I turn the other way. He's just vile. I should probably find a more appropriate name for him than The Douche Master, but there really aren't words foul enough to describe him. So, it will do.

As an aside, the friend who he was ruthlessly hitting on would have interjected and gotten rid of him had she not been stunned to silence by his level of douche. She was forgiven immediately.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I Love My Baby Daddy

Oh, there are multiple babies? That's okay. I love my babies' daddy.

Wait, that's not it either? Multiple daddies, you say? Well, of course there are. I love my babies' daddies!

Er... what? Ah, to Hell with it.

I'm just sad this isn't my shirt, really. I mock because I envy.

(as an aside, I probably shouldn't mock the grammar on a shirt when I'm hours beyond the point at which I could still properly, let alone keep my own jokes straight)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I Don't Get Invited to Many Funerals

I'm feeling batty again. Nearly five minutes has passed since I last felt the Batty Bug, so I'm due. When the Batty Bug bites I find that I have 5 different things to ramble about and completely lack the ability to stay on one topic long enough to form a coherent thought about any of them.

I'm even worse to have spoken conversation with when the Batty Bug has hit. Tonight I managed to segue from a debate on which surname screams Molester the loudest to pointing out that NHL prospect Alexei Cherapanov had just passed away. My friend, also a huge hockey fan, was saddened to learn of the passing. She was a bit alarmed at the ease with which I jumped from one topic to the next, without warning. There may be some basic communications skills which I lack. It's possible the same thing which fuels my wit has resulted in an inability to properly segue between sensitive topics. Whatever.

On Sunday I took a trip to the United Nations Cemetary with some friends. This is something that I had intended on doing months upon months ago, but put off indefinitely after Kyle died. I just wasn't itching to connect with the dead, you know? Eight months later, I figured that I was in a place where I could disconnect that death from the thousands that lie in the cemetery. So, I went.

UN Forces Monument

Something about taking photos in a graveyard felt wrong. I did it anyways.

United Nations Memorial Cemetery in Korea

Inappropriate laughing fit in the Memorial Service Hall aside, I managed to conduct myself accordingly for the duration of the visit. Unfortunately, people tend to forget about the 2 hours during which you were totally awesome. They remember the 10 seconds during which you fell on your ass or the one time that you fell just short of hilarity. Trying to remind anybody about the other 2 hours is practice in futility. Especially when you're me, and you lace said reminders with anecdotes about all of those other inappropriate times where you deemed it fit to toss out a giggle.

When I was ten, my friend's father accidentally ran over a cat. My friend, her sister, and her sister's friend all immediately started wailing. They just couldn't believe that we had been a part of the death of Random Cat. They couldn't bear how horrible her father felt as he moved the cat off the road. And there I was, sitting in the middle of all of this: trying not to laugh. It wasn't funny. It was just heavy. And awkward. And thoroughly uncomfortable. I stifled my giggles.

My friend occasionally references that story as a loss-of-innocence anecdote from our childhoods. For me, it's probably the first time that I realized that the wiring in Barbie's Attic might be a little off.

As for the surname which screams Molester the loudest? Glen. Or maybe Lester. I'd apologize to anybody reading this named Glen or Lester - after all, you didn't ask for a skeevy name; your parents simply lacked taste. It happens - but apologies of the "I'm sorry for acting like such a dick. Now, if you'd excuse me, I'm going to continue acting like a dick" persuasion are a waste of perfectly good words.

That's a rant for another day. Probably not tomorrow.

Monday, October 13, 2008

New Barbie is a Douche

When The Boss Man started looking for a new foreign teacher to replace me, I advised him that he really ought to let me speak to them. I promised that I'd say only nice things about Barbie Hawgon, that I'd had a fabulous experience, and I'd be happy to do what I could to encourage the new recruit that Barbie Hagwon was the place to be. I am worried that The Boss Man started recruiting a month too late and will end up having to go a full month without a native English speaker on staff. This would be terrible for his business. Were The Boss Man a bad boss, I wouldn't give a flying fuck about his business, but he's been pretty awesome. I wish Barbie Hagwon nothing but the best. Unfortunately, my good intentions occasionally blow up in my face. Like that time that I offered to speak to New Barbie? Kaboom!

When the day came to ring New Barbie up, I woke up about three hours earlier than I ordinarly do. The Plan was to give him an honest assessment of my experience at Barbie Hagwon. If my overall assessment wasn't Totally Fucking Awesome, then I wouldn't have volunteered to make the phone call in the first place; I would never encourage somebody to come half way across the world for Something Awful.

That's what recruiters do.

New Barbie has about five hundred questions, but seems like an alright guy, so I humour every last one of them and end up on the phone for well over an hour. I detail my awesome working schedule, my awesome apartment, and my awesome coworkers. I own up to the one or two things that are slightly less than awesome: I have to commute to work and don't live on the beach. New Barbie concludes the call by telling me that aside from the commute, it sounds like a pretty good deal, but that he has to consider his other options before rendering a decision. I tell him that I would do the same and wish him luck.

Cue Monday afternoon.

The Boss Man calls me over on my break to speak to me about something or other. He sounds none too pleased, and comes over to the main table where I am, clutching a piece of paper. The Boss puts it down and says that it's an email from the recruiter. Apparently the recruiter was less than satisifed with my sales pitch, after New Barbie apparently told him that I passed along the following information:

1) I work 8-9 hour days

2) I live beside a brothel.

Given the apparently shitty circumstances surrounding my living, New Barbie said that he'd consider the position if they offered him more money.

Aghast. I was fucking aghast. I spent an hour talking to his guy about my life at Barbie Hagwon, talking it up without being unrealistic or dishonest, and in thanks he blatently lies to the recruiter in order to leverage for more money? Seriously?! He couldn't have just used the falling won as leverage for that?

What. A. Douche.

Thankfully The Boss Man believed that I didn't actually say those things, probably on account of 1) my reaction and 2) those things are too fucking absurd for somebody in my situation to even have imagined. If I didn't have an awesome boss and he believed that I had tried to sabotage him ... well, let's just say that I haven't received my bonus or final pay yet, and those aren't things I was planning on fighting for. And they aren't things that I will have to fight for.

But New Barbie didn't know that.


I kind of hope that he takes the job and gets here in time for me to punch him in the face before I leave.

That is all.

Edited to add:

Having sat on this for an hour, I suppose that it's possible that it's the recruiter who is the douche, and not New Barbie. After all, recruiters are Professional Liars.

Either way, douche is in the air.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Brother-and-Sister Sixsome

Found on a restaurant sign near Pusan National University:

Because fucking your cousin is so passé.

I ... just don't understand. How do these things happen? I refuse to put any further thought into this. I'm happy that they do happen (absurd slogans, that is. I refuse to even consider how to properly emote in response to true family orgies), and will leave it at that.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Woe is the Won

Fuck this noise.

The Korean won has decided to die a horrible death just prior to my receiving my final pay checks and severance. In the end, I will probably "lose" close to a grand. Technically, I can't lose on something that hasn't been paid out yet. But, had I been scheduled to get out of here two months ago I would have had an extra grand. Happiness does not ensue. Much anger ensues.

Today, I hate Korea.

Even though it's not really entirely Korea's fault, I still hate Korea today. A lot.

A whole fucking lot.

Hey, remember when I was actually worth something? No? Me neither.

If the won continues to fall, to the point that it's no longer financially beneficial to work here in comparison to the soul sucking death that would be working in Ontario again next year (while I'm not going to test this theory, I think that stabbing my eyes out with a fork would be more awesome than working in Ontario next year), I won't be back. And that? Would suck. I've already been planning my return and I haven't even left yet.

So, what to do? Hold on to my increasingly worthless won? Convert every last won to the also-crapping-out Canadian dollar (would it kill the fucking Canadian dollar to crap out at a slightly faster rate than the won? Really? Can Canada not even fail properly?)? Have an awesome temper tantrum which involves clunking my head against the wall a few times? Leave most of my cash in won and come back anyways, in the hopes that it goes back up next year?

In the end, part of this is on me for deciding to work in a foreign country in the first place. Tomorrow, when I'm tired of hating Korea, I might be willing to take a little more responsibility for my own decisions. Or I might temporarily forgive Korea and just be angry at Canada for refusing to fail fast enough.

I could really use a poutine right about now. A basic understand of economics wouldn't hurt either.

I lack both.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Home: Where The Fat Happens

Returning to Canada might kill me.

Korean food really isn't bad at all. Prior to coming to Korea I would refuse to eat anything that looked or smelled even remotely funny. I was adamant that raw fish was repugnant and that the only acceptable condiment was ketchup. This all changed on my second day in Korea.

After giving me a whirlwind tour of Busan, The Boss Man offered to take me out for lunch. Ass Kisser Extraodinaire that I am, when asked where I wanted to eat, I asked him to take me to his favourite restaurant. When he giggled and asked if I would eat raw fish, I held back my gagging and assured him that I would learn to enjoy it. Over the next hour I tried a number of different things; some were most certainly raw fish, one was octopus, and I haven't the faintest idea what all the other stuff was. All I remember is that most of it was good. This set the tone for the rest of the year: I would no longer label a food as repugnant without ever having tried it. Except for live octopus or any type of insect. Small minded eater by nature that I am, lines must be drawn somewhere.

I've either enriched my palate or just killed off the majority of my taste buds. Both? Either way, there will probably be some Korean food that I will miss during my brief hiatus, but I won't miss it nearly as much as my favourites from home. With my return to Canada booked for roughly 30 days from now, I have a wish list of artery stopping goodness that I intend to indulge on.

It's quite likely that I will return to Korea fat.

1) Poutine

Guaranteed heart attack on a plate.

I have tested the poutine at a number of establishments in Korea. Most notably: O'Brien's in Busan, The Holy Grill in Daegu, and The Rocky Mountain Tavern in Seoul. Each and every time, it was delicious. The Holy Grill did it best. Still, it... Just. Wasn't. The. Same. Within 72 hours of my return, I promise my thighs that I will go to my favourite deep fried Drunk Food stop in downtown Barbieville and get the largest helping of this crap that they will give me. It's gonna be gross. I might actually die.

2) Arby's Roast Beef Sandwich

Fuck ya.

Every time that hunger has crept up on me over the past month, I've wanted an Arby's roast beef sandwich. My God, have I wanted an Arby's roast beef sandwich. There is an Arby's within ten minutes of where I will be staying when I return to Canada. You better believe that my ass is going to be parked there within 24 hours of my plane's landing.

One will not be enough. There will be three. And one of those will be doused in that disgusting orange cheese stuff that they put on the melts. It's going to be ridiculous. Clearly I will only die of poutine poisoning if the awesomeness of three Arby's roast beef sandwiches doesn't kill me first.

3) Chicken Caesar Pita

Double chicken. Double bacon.

I don't demand that it be from the Pita Pit, but I absolutely insist upon double bacon and double chicken. And just a hint of hot sauce. Of all the things that I want to eat when I get home, this is probably the least likely to kill me on the spot.

4) Bars of cheese

No, really. Bars.

When I visit the grocery store within my first few days back in Canada, there is a very real chance that I will get emotional as I approach the dairy aisle. I might actually cry. That I can't really eat dairy at home without getting sick as fuck won't matter. Should I fail to get disgustingly fat during my visit home, there will be cheese to thank for that. Either way, tears will be had. Entire bars of cheese will be purchased, only to be ripped open and eaten on the way home. Onlookers will be horrified. I will be in heaven. Oh, cheese. How I think miss you. How unhappy my intestines will be to see you. Oh, cheese. Soon.

5) Chocolate Mints


Should I still be able to open my mouth without my intestines leaking out of it, after ingesting disgusting amounts of roast beef, poutine, massively stuffed pitas, and bars of cheese, I will follow up with some chocolate mints for dessert.

I haven't decided on a brand yet. Maybe all of them.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Reason 243 That I Might Be a Raging Bigot

Due to not sleeping at night, I've been taking far too many taxis to work lately. Given that that my budget scarcely allows for the delicious peanut butter sandwich and ramen noodle (or Mr. Noodles, as I called it in my university days) regiment that I've been following this month, I really should get my ass out of bed half an hour earlier so that I have time to take the bus. Ah, next week.

It usually costs about 4 dollars to go from my apartment to Barbie Hawgon. I've noticed that each of the 37 taxis I've taken this week had new signs on the backs of the seats with a list of fares presented on them. There was one column which listed what I believed to be the daytime fare, and another which I deduced was the nighttime fare. It's always cost more to take the taxi between midnight and 4am. I thought that perhaps the taxi companies were catching on that it might be a good idea to advertise this. Sometimes I'm wrong.

When the taxi pulled up in front of Barbie Hagwon, the meter read 3800 won. I was pleased to see that he was 500 won faster than the guy I had the day before. I was less pleased when he threw one of the fare advertisements in my face and asked me to pay 4700 won, instead of 3800. I immediately started griping at him about how he was making me pay more because he thought I was too stupid to understand that he was actually ripping me off by charging me the nighttime fare. Nobody had been charging me the fare in the second column all week long, so clearly this guy was just an asshole. All of this griping was done in English, of course, rendering it useless. Frustrated, I paid the guy the inflated fare and slammed the door behind me.

Later that day while waiting for my eye glasses (25 dollars for corrective lenses. Win!), a thought dawned on me. I turned to my coworker, who had joined the glasses excursion, and asked what the deal was with the new fare signs I'd been seeing in taxis. She lamented that the fares had officially gone up today, but that it could take a while for the meters to reflect this. We both made sad faces over the taxis being more expensive, and I neglected to mention to her The Incident from earlier that day.

In hindsight, it was fairly obvious that the new fare signs were just that: new fare signs! But, sometimes I'm wrong. The reason that I may be a raging bigot doesn't stem from my being an idiot and failing to notice the obvious; that's a whole other issue. The reason that I may be a raging bigot is that instead of considering that my original assumption - that the signs were listing preexisting daytime and nighttime fares - was wrong, I immediately jumped to the conclusion that the evil taxi driver was trying to scam money out of me, on account of my porcelain complexion. Rather than consider the obvious, I assumed the worst.

Then again, it's possible that I just think everybody is trying to rip me off. Really, would I be wrong?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Failed Three-way

I've become so used to living in Korea that not only do I often fail to see the funny in Konglish t-shirts, I am stumped when it comes to determining what qualifies as a funny Konglish hat. What once would have made me stop in awe at the utter ridiculousness, now hardly merits a squint. Take the following as an example:


I saw this hat sitting on a random vendor cart while wandering around Seomyeon (which is central Busan, and basically has random street vendor carts of everything imaginable). I'm not entirely sure, but I probably would have found this funny one year ago. I bought it anyways, because the hat reminded me of the time when I accidentally earned the nickname Failed Three-way.

Months ago, there was a situation that, when interpreted by certain minds, may have been taken the wrong, perverse, way. What was, in fact, a simple drunken passing out of small handful of people, left a good friend of mine deeply disappointed with me. "So, did you get any action?", she asked me casually the next day. I respond to this with genuine surprise and confusion. "I wasn't trying to get any", I explained. My friend's disappointment quickly turned to complete disbelief; she simply couldn't imagine that I had fratboys, plural, over and didn't try to bed any of them. When I explained to her that nobody was trying to bed anybody, she refused to believe it and immediately started calling me Failed Three-way.

I tried to veto the nickname, on account of Ridiculous, but was outvoted 2-1. I demanded a recount. Nobody listened. The name stuck for a week, until April Teacher got bored, or forgot that she'd started calling me it in the first place. This worked out well, since I maintain that it's not a failure if hadn't even dawned on you to try.

I'm still not sure if the hat itself is funny, or if I just liked that it brought me down Korea Land Memory Lane.