When I was posted up in Chiang Mai for a month, I befriended this older man. His parents were from China, he had been born in the US, grew up in Hong Kong, and had retired in a small town a few hours outside of Chiang Mai. Every weekend, he’d bus it out to Chiang Mai, check into my guesthouse, and spend the weekend shopping and eating Western food at the Sunday temple market and talking to the travelers at the guesthouse. He was awesome and interesting and kind and probably about 85 years old.
I still keep in touch with him. He’s always asking me where I am now (still in Korea!), what I’m up to (still teaching!) and what I plan to do in the future (still don’t fucking know!). He doesn’t care, and really, I don’t care. I like having a third grandfather to answer to and to fill my inbox with weird news articles about things I don’t particularly care about.
Oh my god I’m on the phone with my mom and she is on one of her ever increasingly crazy rants about government conspiracy and blood lettings and I can’t handle it,
I’ve been ready to leave this cafe for about half an hour but I am literally procrastinating on shutting down my computer, putting it in its sleeve, and carrying it 3 minutes down the street.
Also, my brain is exhausted. Also, why does said brain shut down the second I get hungry in the slightest?
Disgruntled old people are one of my favorite things in life. I mean it. And I don’t mean it in a condescending way, and I don’t seek pleasure in other people’s struggles. But your run of the mill cranky older person who just doesn’t give a fuck anymore? My faves.
One of the best things about learning Korean has been being able to interact more with older Koreans more (slightly more). Just now on my pencil hunt, I went to CU. No pencil. Then I popped into a mom and pop supermarket. The old man running it was outside arguing with his fruit vendor. When he saw me pop back out empty handed, he got in my face and grunted “뭐?” to which I simply said I was looking for a pencil.
And then it began! I straight up offended this man’s sensibilities by thinking he would carry pencils in his establishment. He aished and moaned in my general direction and pissily explained what I had discovered myself while inside, which is that he did not sell pencils. He is a grocery store! But then between clicks and groans he gave me very detailed instructions about where to find a pencil in this neighborhood. This place over here might, that place up the street certainly does but it’s a convenience store so it’ll be too expensive, and this other place sells stationary but is probably not open yet.
Given his irritable mood and unimpressed tone, it would have been easy to assume he was bitching me out for being an idiot. In reality, he was just a dude busy trying to buy his inventory but still willing to go out of his way to help my bumbling ass.
I thanked him and skipped off down the street, where I acquired a pencil. On my way back to the cafe, I passed my new bud unpacking boxes of oranges. I held up my pencil with a grin and told him I found one. He shook his head in disgust, muttered something to himself, then broke out into an amused chuckle.
Older people. The best.
Oh good I finally dragged my ass, my computer, and my notebook out of my house and went to the cafe and set everything up and realized I don’t even have a fkin pencil. I have a pen, but it fell apart in my bag and the spring is missing so it doesn’t even work.
Boooooo. At least I’m in Korea, where I feel comfortable leaving my computer and stuff sprawled out on the table while I run down street to the mart. Unlike in the USA. Americans aren’t to be trusted. Ever.
I have so much to do today, but it looks like food is the only thing that will successfully get me out of bed.