murphy, always vigilant, always ready, drove my older son joseph and me to the airport. i felt that horrible sense of dread approaching t.s.a. but for the first time i was waved through. joseph, however, got some strange treatment.
t.s.a. agent: don’t slouch. and get a job. he doesn’t have a job, does he?
me: no, he doesn’t and can you ask him to get a hair cut?
t.s.a. agent: get a haircut and do what your mom says. she is your mom, right? not some random woman nagging you?
i think this might have either been what passes for t.s.a. humor or maybe they got a handbook advising them to employ humor for sotto vocce interrogation. for instance, if joseph had said “mom, you could be buried up to your neck in the sand and be stoned for telling me to cut my hair so just stop it!” maybe the t.s.a. agents wouldn’t have laughed and waved us through.
the asiana airlines stewardesses were so glamorous. they wear identical brown suits and brown slippers. they have tight, ballerina buns at the back of their heads. and theyare so happy to pour one champagne that one feels quite as if it’s only a matter of common courtesy to allow them the opportunity to do it again. joseph and i eschewed the “american” menu and did bibampop, kimchi, and ramen. i haven’t thought well of kimchi mostly because the people who owned our house before us buried kimchi pots all over the yard and i’d dig them up when trying to put in hostas, tulips and daffodils. it was like a sour smelling nonexplosive landmine.
but the meal was great. and the flight was straightforward except for the part where the pilot seemed to take great pains to avoid north korean airspace. maybe he had an ex-girlfriend he was worried he’d run into!
f2fb friend #241 john chie is neither fully american nor fully korean. he was born in korea and his mother, determined to give her children a good life, moved the family first to south anerica and eventually to the united states. he went to the university of illinois. he lived in chicago when i met him ten years ago. he moved back to korea five years ago and still hasn’t learned enough korean to be fully accepted. at one point, we were talking with a woman who was clearly baffled by my attempt to help her understand english by talking really loud. the woman turned to john and he referred to himself as “megook” which means “i’m american”.
he wants to move back to the states and i hope he does. my sense of korea is that american allows for greater diversity of people, we accept back stories that are different from expected.
unfortunately, the only picture i have of seeing him was so soft and grainy–and oddly formatted in a bmp (?) fashion that i can’t upload it. just as well. i look half asleep. joseph was half asleep. but john was wearing a nice suit and, this is the weird part, looked five years YOUNGER than when i met him last. i wish i could share that!
but it was nice to catch up with john and he was a gentleman to share a cab with us to make sure we made it to the best western hotel on incheon island. it’s quarter to six a.m. local time and we have a plane to taipei to catch in three hours!
thank you to john chie for seeing me and joseph!!!! and for being my friend!