Sunday, March 26, 2017

Blood, Sacrifices, & Socks

Blood splatter cooks right off these Korean heated floors. No I didn't murder anyone. I pulled a hangnail on my least toe, and it dripped blood in a thick dramatic splotch next to the wheel of my desk chair. Editing exacerbates my trichotillomania.

I video called my friend Susanna, who plans to come out to Korea in a few months to visit. She ditched Sunday school when she got my "can you chat now?" message and went out into the hall. Bella happened by and popped into the frame to grin and wave at me. I assured her that I was not neglecting her--this was my first international voice contact with anyone besides my family and financial associates that I'd made. 

I've been editing all evening. There's an impressive assortment of writers coming up in my queue. My mother also forwarded me a Russian history monograph that I'm to review for an online journal. 

I found a set of brass Buddhist prayer bells in a rock hollow on the seashore yesterday. I left it where it was just in case someone left it there accidentally, but if I return to discover it still in place, I am thinking about retrieving it and taking it apart and turning the pieces into a wind chime. Divorced from its religious context it should be effectively deconsecrated, right? I want to be careful, though--it's one of those "meat offered to idols" sort of situations.

When I took off my shoes this morning after the Korean language church service to go into the social hall for lunch, I noticed that I was the only person whose socks were in a poor state. I looked like an unkempt bachelor with my toes gleaming through the threadbare spots in the black flannel. This is because I have been procrastinating about sock-shopping; there are loads of socks for sale here, most proudly labeled "Made in Korea." There was even a small truck rolling slowly through the neighborhood a few weeks ago topped with a loudspeaker proclaiming the virtues of the socks that they were selling out the back. There are socks for sale at department stores and at the open-air daily market. Heck, they even have them at grocery stores and there was a double wide booth selling nothing but socks at the Fire Festival, of all places. But because I have been hit by an impulse to bargain shop--saving what, a couple of hundred won, total?!--I haven't actually purchased any. I have got to do so before next Sunday. When you are in a culture when you don't have to take off your shoes regularly, you can often get away with sorry socks, but here it's just not going to do.

Incidentally, I found out why the municipal trees hereabouts are covered with oranges that are left unpicked. There were some along a roadside that were hung with explanatory plaques in Japanese, Chinese, and English, and these signs informed the curious that they were a sour variety with a thick skin and not good for eating, but are used in making tea. Now I know.

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