If you haven’t heard the Anyang Police have recommended to the prosecutor that I am not guilty of criminal libel in the stuff I have said on this web site about the School-Which-Must-Not-Be-Named.
It still was an emotional experience. I got the call yesterday morning while setting up my computer with Vista (yes, I’m brave). It took me a while to figure out what the call was about. It was the chief of Cybercrime himself asking me to come to the police station in the afternoon. I told him politely that I had to work and asked if I could show up the next morning. He said it was fine.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t understand the first part of the conversation, and the last part ended so quickly, I didn’t have the presence of mind to ask him to repeat what it was about. I got Eun Jeong to call him back, and he said that he had already told me what it would be about.
This morning we showed up thirty minutes early. The door to Cybercrime was open, and we poked our heads in. The chief was there and asked us to sit down. He asked if we wanted some coffee, which I obliged. He then sat down with us and breathed like he had bad news to break to me. Next he said things like, “You don’t like coming here, do you?” and, “How do you feel right now?”
I held up my hand and shook it to convey I was a bit nervous.
He then went into the business of the whole ordeal. He talked about the history of the case and how he was charged to get to the bottom of it. He talked about how She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named came to the police station after me and gave another interview. He then got out a law book with a passage highlighted and said he had talked to the labor inspector who went over our case a year ago.
“I had to come to a decision on this case.”
He milked each word slowly.
“After looking at everything, I have to send my decision to the prosecutor. I sent a letter to (She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named) telling her my decision. My — decision — is — (breath) — the — decision — is — you are — not guilty.”
There was a glint in his eye like he was enjoying this. He then reiterated more details of the case and how he came to his decision. In the end it was because I had stated facts and that She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named had seriously violated Korean labor laws.
He also said that he respected America for what it has done for South Korea over the years and that he was planning to visit America this fall.
The meeting ended. We shook hands heartily, and I exited the police building with an extra spring in my step.
More fun stuff has been happening this past week or so. Saturday was my last bit of taping for EBSe on location at Incheon English Village — at least for the season. We only had to do one scene (we usually do two), yet this one scene took a long time for some reason. The director wanted to do the same lines from multiple angles. He’s a bit of a perfectionist, and I’ll admit that our location shoots look fairly decent.
I was a bit sad for it to end and elated. We all rode together back to Seoul and had a late lunch of galbi — lots of galbi. We then said our goodbyes and went our separate ways.
I headed to Yongsan. Michael Hurt and I had planned a dinner gathering followed by watching the Transformers movie at the super digital Yongsan CGV movieplex. I mistakenly assumed (hoped) that Michael would be free much earlier. I wanted to have a little meeting to talk about our other projects we have had on hold while I was doing TV. Yet the guy is busy, busy, busy.
Nonetheless, I had some business to take care of myself. My hard drive that started this whole thing — the one that my old girlfriend Sue got for me three years ago, bit the dust last week. It was the one housing my operating system, so I had no computer from Thursday on. I walked around Yongsan Electronics Market to get a new hard drive. I already have a 140GB drive and a 200 GB drive. This time I got a 300 GB drive to top all that. It seems like much, but making the movies fills up the drives fast.
I also got a new set of earphones for the MP3 player. My trusty earphones got ripped out of the phono jack when a bus driver decided to go from 0 to 60 in five seconds after I got on the bus. That did not feel good on the ears either. These new ones are extremely comfortable. They also block out external sound so well that they could double as earplugs.
I then wandered around the sprawling department store complex at Yongsan Station. A little (I think) battle of the bands venue was going on in the main courtyard. I looked around and discovered that Yongsan Station has a putt putt course — in case I ever get a hankerin’ for putt putt. It also has a two story bookstore. I went there and hit the jackpot on affordable cookbooks, particularly Korean cookbooks. I majorly loaded up, and I’m sure it will create a lot of fodder for the Food Journal.
I still had a lot of time left, and Michael still wasn’t available. It was then that I had another “first” Korean experience.
My hair was done up in a ponytail for the EBS shoot, along with gel, hairspray, and other chemicals to make my hair have the body of a Ken doll. I don’t like the ponytail look so much. Yet what could I do? I had forgotten to bring some shampoo and a towel to the shoot. So I couldn’t wash my hair afterwards.
After I got the books, it dawned on me — why not go to a hair salon and get a shampoo? It wouldn’t cost much, would it? And I’m sure there’s a Blue Club (discount men’s haircut franchise) shop around here.
It only took a little bit of walking before I found a Blue Club. I entered with my bags and all and sat down. The ladies, who were busy giving little boys some haircuts, looked at me nervously. I think they both slowed down a bit so they wouldn’t be the first one done and have to deal with the strange looking guy with the ponytail who just entered.
One grudgingly finished her project and turned to me. I told her I just wanted a shampoo.
No haircut. Just shampoo.
She looked confused and a little panicked. I guess people normally don’t go into Blue Clubs for just shampoos. I figured it wouldn’t be a big deal since every time I enter a haircut place, Blue Club or otherwise, they always ask me if I want a shampoo.
The girl took me to the back. There was a chair there, but it wasn’t next to the sink. Was I supposed to sit there? She saw me looking at the chair, and she pointed to the sink.
I noticed that one of the mothers was washing her son’s hair in the other sink. It was then that I figured out that the shampoos were self service.
I made some pantomime to make sure that we were on the same page. “You–me–I can shampoo–myself–here?”
I asked her how much it was. She said 2,000 won ($2).
I bent over and wet my hair. I had taken out the hair band, and I loaded my hair with shampoo. I have so much hair now that it requires a good bit. I did that whole bit, along with rinse, and I turned around looking for a towel.
As I dripped on everything, the girl ran back there like I was about to step on a mine and directed me to a towel dispenser over the sink. This was like an upside down wet wipes dispenser that produced cotton towels. I got one and dried my hair, along with the hair dryer and everything.
When I finished, I walked back to the front. The girl asked me about gel. I thought, “I came here to get the gunk out of my hair. Ain’t no way I’m puttin’ the gunk back in.”
I told her no. She then said it was 1,000 won. I guess the gel adds the extra 1,000.
So really, I walked in, washed my hair, dried it, and walked out for a dollar. I was ready for a night on the town.
Chris P. was also shooting for his show that day. He was planning to join us that night. I sat in the concrete area in front of Yongsan Station, reading my new books while waiting for either Chris or Michael to show up.
Michael showed up first. Chris called around the same time and said his car was in the area, but he was stuck in traffic. He actually saw us crossing the street. He parked his car in the garage and later met Michael and me at the restaurant with our friend Shawn in tow. Michael was busy planning everyone’s seating in the theater.
Now this is where I was embarrassed. Michael and I had both plugged this gathering on our respective web sites. Lots of people signed up on Mike’s site. A few signed up on mine–mostly friends. Michael had gotten fifty tickets, and I thought he was way overdoing it. Yet he got around thirty signing up. I had at most ten. All day long, my meager number was canceling, canceling, canceling, to the point that it really was just Chris. And Max didn’t cancel, but we didn’t have each other’s number (big mistake on my part).
People started showing up, and either I went outside or sent someone as a lookout outside to see if anyone was waiting around for us. I didn’t see Max. Or really, no one introduced himself as Max.
It turns out that Max and us tragically didn’t cross paths. Mike had set up the venue because he was familiar with the area. I wasn’t. So I had a hard time telling anyone where to go. I had said to meet up at this certain spot because in the back of my memory, I sorta knew the area. Little did I know that it was the edge of a red light district.
I’m so naive.
So obviously Max didn’t wait long and left. SORRY MAX!!! I’ll make it up to you.
With that unfortunate comedy of errors aside, a hefty group did indeed show up–more than ever have shown up at one of my own events. And I got to meet Expat Jane (Regina) and Miss Koco (Nicole). Both of them were amazing people to meet.
I say they’re amazing because they laughed at my jokes.
It was such a fun time. We solved our ordering issues by just ordering three different things, one at each table: galbi, samgyeopsal (with pineapple), and galbi jjim. The galbi jjim was amazing. More stewed than the one I like to eat in Beomgye. Oh, it was so good. Spicy, too.
Miss Koco regaled us with her life in both Seoul and New York and the crazy stuff she has experienced. She reminded me of Christina except that I felt I could actually hang around Miss Koco in public. Regina talked about–I don’t remember, but my stomach muscles were sore the next day from all the laughing.
We then headed up to the theater. Michael went to return the extra tickets. A few more people joined up. I didn’t get to meet any of them. I sat between Chris and Miss Koco. Regina and Shawn were on the left, and Michael was behind us.
The movie was loud and very entertaining. It hit all the right notes for me in being a fun summer blockbuster–watching it with a group of fast friends. I don’t remember making as much noise or having as much fun at a movie theater–besides Rocky Horror, but that’s different. There were great perfectly timed moments that got the audience cheering. The only real groaner was the tasteless joke of a robot “peeing” on a guy. Some well timed inside jokes were in there. I particularly liked the one, “This is better than Armageddon,” which was a jab at one of Michael Bay’s other overbloated action flicks.
Oh man, that was such a great time. I want to do it again.
When we left the theater, the bottom had fallen out of the sky. The rain was pretty hard. The group wanted to go drinking. Chris and myself were beat. We left the party while they were trying to figure out how they would leave Yongsan Station without umbrellas. It was 1:30 in the morning or so.
Also, my first piece for Seoul Magazine has been published. It’s the one about yogurt. Working on the next piece now–like I’m going to go back to writing it now. I just took a break from writing to, um, write this.