I reached a level of intoxication I rarely allow, and never enjoy, last night. Funny enough, it wasn't the fault of my decision, post-soju, to meet Small Town at the regular, just around midnight. It happened because of Mike, who was remaining firm in his anti-bar aspirations, but nonetheless dragged me back to his place to feed me entirely too much soju, rattling on about cabs and whatnot.
I do vaguely remember doing something like dashing out across what we call the judgment call jaywalking street, which normally sees me holding Mike back by the collar, insisting we wait for the light, which never changes. And when he expressed his surprise, I also vaguely remember saying something about being a "yes" person in a "no" world.
I also remember hitting him in the stomach at least once. And some arm-tugging as well. I'm sorry.
Being the individual that I am, I decided I would go to the bar to sober up. There was a slight overlap between soju guzzling and beer sipping that led to me barely being able to focus my eyes, but nonetheless maintaining a decent enough grasp of/level of participation in the conversation that Small Town, who had just gotten off work and was 100% stone cold sober, had no clue I was trying not to fall over. It was getting to the point where I honestly thought I was going to have cut the night short and climb into a cab with my tail tucked between my legs. I never go home because I'm too drunk. Ever. I don't get too drunk.
But the company was nice, and I had taken my shoes off and pulled my feet up in the chair. I remember putting them back on at least twice, as I prepared to say my goodbyes, but then the conversation would draw me back in, and I'd slip them back off again.
Eventually I sobered up and got back to the lovely gentle buzzy feeling I usually maintain with master quality on evenings out.
This led to us being the last people in the bar again, at 4 am.
I excused myself to go to the bathroom, at one point, and from inside the stall could hear someone shouting in a Canadian accent: "NORAEBANG! ........ NOR-RAE-BANG!" Christ. What had the fucking tide rolled out and left behind this time? And was it talking to Small Town? Because if it was, especially about noraebong, I was going home....
I came out to be introduced to two stumbling asshats, one of whom began by thoroughly insulting the place where I'm from, and when chastised for this honorably by Small Town, began to immediately renege. I, being more than a little socially lubricated, decided I would like to continue on course, however. As is usually the case in these situations, by remaining calm, if more than a little challenging, I managed to see him admit the reason he hated Texas was because he'd trained for the military there and had rarely even left the base.
So, really, you hate the military. Good job signing up, then. You probably hate Korea as well. Yet, here you are. God, I love people like that.
He moved to the other end of the bar, at that point, to pursue a less complicated conversation with the Korean barmaid, about, "What..... did.... you..... stu-dy.... at..... university? Did.... you.... GO.... university?" (She's Korean -- not deaf and retarded. Why do expats talk to people like that?).
At which point, I really had started inching toward the door, explaining that, although noraebang with these two gentlemen sounded lovely -- it really did -- I was terribly exhausted from work and needed to get at least some sleep. "You serious?" Small Town enquired. Oh, you have no idea how serious. Then the other cretin launched into a monologue about how easy public school teachers have it compared to hagwon teachers. Fascinating, novel, and well-researched, as you can imagine.
Insult my home all you would like. Do not insult my line of work, especially when you readily admit you don't really care about the job you, yourself, are doing. And definitely do not do so straight to my face after I've been drinking.
My job would be dead easy, in some senses, if I didn't give a shit about it, my students, or my own abilities as a teacher. As it stands, it's one of the most challenging situations I've ever been in. Small Town jumped in, eventually, seeing a flicker of flame in my eyes I'm sure made him realize it wasn't a good idea to let the conversation continue on the current course, and tried to make my case for me -- again, honorable. But unnecessary. I don't need to defend myself to someone who has absolutely no idea what he's talking about. I prefer, instead, to stick to asking a series of questions that reveals, step by step, that said person has absolutely no idea what he's talking about. And is a gigantic shit-face, to boot.
Eventually seeing that he was going to be unable to, as with a dog who has attacked and won't let go, persuade me to set my attention elsewhere, he turned to the tactic of pointing out that we weren't there to compare who had it harder -- public school or hagwon teachers.
That wasn't really the issue, though. I openly admit that I could never work at a hagwon -- I think they are, from what I have heard, terrible places with life-destroying hours and motivating factors. I would 1000% recommend public schools to anyone, hand over fist, compared to hagwons. The point was that this mongoloid had the nerve to compare the job he, personally, was doing in this country to the job I am doing, and somehow, in his own mind, come out on top.
Meanwhile, it's people like him who are causing the most damage not only to the reputation of Native English teachers in Korea, but also to the English education system here, as a whole. Which happens to be something that I actually care about.
You're absolutely right, was what I had to say. And anyway, I love my job. I love my students. I love living in Korea. That's why I'm here. I would never go to a place I hate to do a job I hate and then drunkenly stumble around sexually harassing the local citizens and slamming everything I could about the country I chose to live in, and the people I chose to be around. I have nothing to complain about. Thanks for reminding me.
An uncomfortable silence settled in at that point.
I put my coat on and the drunk idiot reached to shake my hand. "I'll see you again, then?"
"If you come here enough."
"If I'm lucky enough?"
"No. I said, if you come here enough. I'm not that cocky. But almost."
I took Small Town's hand, as he stood there looking a little bewildered and worried that I was leaving the situation less than pleased with everyone involved. "[Small Town]." A genuine smile. "It was truly a pleasure, as always. Have fun and good night."
And now I'm running ridiculously late for all the things I wanted to get done before meeting the lovely Kel in Sinchon. So I gotta shake a leg.