Saturday, August 18, 2012

Made a fool of myself again... I must be younger...

than I realize. I went to the church picnic/games with my wife. I parked and we went out to the games, found our friends and joined in. I was doing okay, quickly becoming an oppressed minority in my own country. Very easy to do when everyone, seemingly, is speaking a foreign language that you pretend to be uncomfortable speaking and making a fool of yourself using. They also decide that you are an English Man, not an American Man, just an English Man - what an insult to the start of my country. But it does increase the pressure, the oppression of me and who I think I am.

I could be wrong, I could call all the Korean Men, Koreans (which works in America, and in the English language - but is not what Koreans call themselves, but then they don't call my country America, in their language either) but then I try to call them by name, and don't you know - that like my wife, they adjusted their American name to our culture (her name is Hong Kum-Cha, she knows it takes too long for Americans to say that correctly or use it as such, so she says to call her KC, which Americans think is Casey). So I am not totally uncaring, unknowing or unsympathetic to their normal being an oppressed minority in this wonderful sharing culture of Liberty and Justice for All. So, why am I suddenly feeling like I almost understand how much stress they are under? Well, just like they have a cultural shell that give grave offense to their person, I have one, too.

So when I saw a man put his hands on my wife to get her attention (she was cheering her team) I came quickly up behind them and called loudly to my wife to get her attention, other women noticed and also told her to pay attention to me. I told her I didn't like other men touching her, which she already knows, and then I turned and made my point with the Korean gentleman. When I was much younger I just would have hit him harder than he was ready for... but I am older and not so young. So I already knew that he hadn't meant to insult my wife or myself, touching in public is something you get over in Asia - touching in private is rare, in America it is the reverse (although I guess I have learned to accept real family type hugs from young people and children, I won't from strangers and don't get me on that whole false fake kiss-cheeks thing). So I didn't hit him, but I left all the anger and destruction on my face and I told him that if he touched my wife again I would hit him hard enough to move the left side of his face to the right side - moving my hands vigorously in the same pattern I was telling him. Leave them with visuals. Then, before I embarrassed my wife any more I turned around and left. And cooled off. Wasn't much of a Christian in my heart then - but he was still alive, so it wasn't as bad as it could have been, right?


I wasn't worried about my wife, or her faithfulness or love for me, I was concerned about how my bad behavior might affect her world. She later was approached by the frightened man and she brought him over to introduce him to me (which is a very Korean thing to do - one doesn't really exist until properly introduced). I wasn't having any introduction to a potential target of my stupidity and shame. So I told her I didn't need to meet him, what I didn't want to say was that I was ashamed and didn't want him to think he was better than I (which was really why he wanted to be introduced - it would make me the barbarian - but he and I already knew that, I didn't want him to have a 'face' advantage). I don't think he thought I was going to kill him or he would have had the Pastor for the English Language Service come introduce me and mediate. I had already told the Pastor I had made a fool of myself, that was as far as I was going today.

My wife was telling the story about her wild man husband and his over protectiveness to her friends, in Korean, and was observed and reported to me by one of my American friends.

Later he, brought his fine little Boston Terrier by to be admired, his family ate lunch near us.

I pulled in some of the Tug of War, on his side of the rope, next to him, we did well together but never spoke.

Because they needed to pretend to be inclusive the English Men were asked to run in a relay. Our team had only three American Men able to run, kind of. So I was encouraged by my wife to run, and did. I ran hard, and it was faster than I had been running in a year. Surprised me that I made it so well, so although it didn't get us a win, it made me smile to be that much in motion. Funny years and years ago it wouldn't have been even mentioned.

I helped clean up, brought our stuff and my wife home, and almost immediately crashed before the news. Which is always a good thing, missing the news at the front of the broadcast. But I was wiped out, and I hadn't even fought a three minute round. I need to get hard bodied again if I am going to be so young in my passion and foolishness. I should have done more like my Sunday School teacher, he was a hippie and a monk for some of his previous life, he knows how to party.

 It is tough to be mellow as an oppressed minority, but good to be able to put yourself in their shoes - and not have to live there forever. When are we, Americans, going to stop trying to make everyone think we are the good guys? Only we know that, but we have been wrong before. But I will hardly admit it. Maybe tomorrow I will be a better man.


  1. You may not want to return to your mother's natal country, Earl, since women hug and cheek-kiss everyone they know. Our grandfather said in 1977 that he was still being kissed by beautiful young women because he was in Uruguay. It would not have happened in the U.S. (He was 82 at the time.) In fact, I got good at that cultural greeting when I was down there. I did drop it as soon as I got back in the U.S.A., but I have an easier time with it anytime I run into it now.

  2. Ahhh, don't be so hard on yourself. He crossed a line, and even if his culture tends to prefer that behavior, he's not at home where his culture is.

    When in Rome, etc.