God. I've never, before last night, met a Korean who speaks just about no English, but who insists on repeating the English he does know over and over and over in your face when he's drunk. I imagine it's what it's like to be a Korean talking to most foreigners in a bar past 2 am. That's what we get for going too far off the beaten path, after we stepped into yet another foreigner bar last night to find it full of, gasp, foreigners. Which we weren't in the mood for.
As I stood with my back to the room, not wanting to invite any conversations, Small Town leaned over and shouted in my ear about a cultural exchange center he knew of that was having a meeting tomorrow night (tonight). "Ya up for it then?" I nodded and sipped my beer without turning around. That's when he said the most classic thing anyone has ever said to me. I'm considering having it put on my gravestone:
"I mean, don't get me wrong, I enjoy your company loads. But it's nothing to write home about."
I turned around at this point. "Did you just say my company is nothing to write home about?"
"Oh shit. I was going to extremes dere to get me point across. Now I feel like a bit of a shit."
I burst into laughter, and after I recovered I offered my glass for a toast. "[Small Town], that's honestly the best thing anyone has ever said to me."
That's when we left for the "normal" bar. Way the fuck out of the way. As we walked along, I told him I felt like we had definitely just crossed that invisible line between people who have seen foreigners before, and people who hadn't (geographically).
It started out amusing enough, when after a bit of preliminary "She your girlfriend?"/"No."/"She your girlfriend?"/"No."/"She your girlfriend?"/"NO!", the following conversation took place:
To me, pointing at Small Town: "He..... like-ee........ DOOR?"
Drunk guy: "Okay! He like-ee?"
Me: "........ Do you mean girl?"
Drunk guy: "No! No no no. Door. He like-ee door."
Me, to Conor: "Do you like doors?"
Drunk guy: "You like-ee door!"
Me: "You like doors."
Conor: "Oh yeah, love 'em. Where would we be without 'em? Wouldn't want ta use the window."
And so on.
I was almost inspired to practice my current chapter of Korean on him, by informing him that the apple was on the table, the milk was inside the fridge and I was between the desk and the chair. But I resisted.
Eventually at one point, while I was mixing Korean and English with the bar tender (who, despite the fact that he had heard me use quite a bit of Korean throughout the evening, including "dongsaeng" and "noona" to get the point across to the drunk guy that Small Town and I were not at all involved, decided to teach me what "oppa" means, of course in relation to me calling him Oppa -- which feels only slightly more appropriate now that I do speak a bit of Korean, even though I know how to politely use names), when I heard the drunk guy start in on something about "home"and "she going" and "with you". And I heard a tone come out of Small Town that I never have before.
"You. Stop. Now."
I turned away from the bar tender and grabbed Small Town's arm. "Hey hey hey. [Small Town]. Chill out, man. It's just some drunk guy. Some drunk Korean guy. You don't want the police showing up on this one, trust me."
"No. I want him to stop."
"I understand, but he's not going to. He's drunk, and a dick. Just let it ride. It doesn't hurt anything."
I had just finished this sentence when the muppet decided to grab Small Town's arm and point at the two female bar tenders, and try to say something to the effect of taking them home if you like Koreans, or something. Then I had to eat crow.
"HEY." I leaned forward on the bar and grabbed his extended index finger. "Don't point at them."
He had been vaguely trying to insult the ladies to us in English all night. Small Town told me last time he was in, he had been saying things about them "like-ee dick". They didn't appear to speak or understand a word of English, but they were kind enough. When they went to fill Small Town's glass for him, every time he would hold it out for them using only one hand. I would shout, "Ya!" and move his other hand up to the bottom of his glass. The girls would giggle profusely and the bar tender would grin. The drunk man would shake his head and point at the girls. "They...." He couldn't find the words, so he just moved his hand as if to brush them away, and shook his head. Telling me that they're just bar girls -- Small Town doesn't need to use both hands.
I would say, "They are ladies. It's rude. I don't care. Both hands."
"Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa....." The drunk guy shook his head, and pointed at the girls again, preparing to say something in English.
I started to scoot off my stool. The male bar tender watched with a grin while he cleared away empty bottles. "HEY. I'm not kidding. Not a joke. You don't point at them. You don't talk about them in English."
It was just about time we get going.
We walked back to an ex pat bar in the rain, for one final beer. An extremely drunk ajosshi, who was kicking over little concrete pillars, and anything else in his path and then bending down low to shout, "GAMSA!" at them, eyeballed my bottle of beer on the railing and then walked off with it. Good a time as any to head home, right?