I first met Paul after getting out of a taxi. I was walking down the street with a few friends. Out of between the 4 foot space between two buildings he jumped, literally, over a short wall. A bathroom is a bathroom is a bathroom I suppose.
Long stories are boring, so let’s make this a shorter one. We ended up at a Noraebang; my friends, Paul and I. I think it was around the third rendition of “New York, New York” that I looked over and finally noticed a passed out Paul. A bottle of soju slowly draining into his slightly gaped mouth. That was the first night.
“Cigarettes and drinking make people too much interesting.” – Paul
Keep in mind that everything quoted by Paul will be transcribed by my intoxicated memories since I only see him when I go out. I can’t imagine hanging out with him without drinking. He’s probably pretty boring. He probably knows that too. Additionally, I will try to maintain all of his Konglish glory.
Every so often my phone will ring and it will be Paul on the other end. He will typically be excited and tell me something along the lines of “did you know that 45 percent of all Koreans are very unhappy with their jobs?” He didn’t read this in a book somewhere, he tells me he calculated this himself. I suppose he probably asked 10 to 15 people on the street one day and decided this. I have decided never to question his numbers.
One time I did question him. He got angry. He told me that he was a math major and that I didn’t know the first thing about math. Asian people are inherently better at math he said. Who am I to argue with stereotypes upheld by the very people they are stereotyping. Besides, I’ve always had a liking for off the cuff, unproven statements. Facts are for losers and people who look down on calculators as low class. Paul loves his calculator. I doubt he can even multiply simple numbers anymore.
I suppose he might be one of those 45 percent. Odds are he probably asked himself this question. Odds are he’s probably turning this into a lab report for one of his classes.
“I am jealous of Americans and their travels” – Paul
“Why don’t you travel?” – Me
“I can not, I have to study. Someday I will travel many places” – Paul
I’ve always enjoyed the notion of someday. Specific dates are unattainable. Give me a deadline and I will break it. Someday is an idea that I can usually pick up on. Besides, the Star Wars trilogy is on TV and I haven’t seen it in a while. Someday I’ll do something. Someday Paul might get rid of his calculator.
Paul is his English name. He told me he picked it because it was the only name presented to him in middle school that he felt he could pronounce correctly. He can’t.