When a very social guy like me gets used to only occasional hour-long coffee meetings with friends, and occasional poetry reads or dinner-outings in Korea, life can be boring and lonely.
Of course being “on a mission” to improve one’s life, and take great pictures, write poetry, essays and stories, and to educate oneself are all called “being too busy”, so it shouldn’t matter. But in New York, Colorado, and even Hae Bang Chon-my domain was a local bar to pop into and see out-going friends and fellow artists with expressive personalities and outgoing personas. That’s why I Iove meeting such people in Korea-especially in Suwon. It is warming and familiar to my people-oriented social-side. And it makes me feel at home.
My friend, Chris is married to a Philippine girl. She’s quiet, affectionate, fluid in her movement. She dresses sexy, but not showy. Chris and she wore vintage baseball jackets, comfortably fitring in with Korean dating culture.
We went to a place for beers tonight, right in Suwon-a western place owned by a San Diego guy, down the back-alley road a ways from Suwon Station. It’s a road with special memories for m–of walking with a special someone from days and evenings at Hwasung Fortress. It’s the road that has barricades before it, or little railings; “car guard-rails”, which comes out of the “carnival street”-as I call it-also behind Suwon Station; the one with all the kids and hotels, DVD rooms and hot-pressed squid stands. men show their machismo breaking tiles, punching arcade-size machine-punching bags, and couples buy cotton candy. There are batting cage, too. That area is hard for me to be in because of cozy memories. Amber hated that street. I did too. But the memories win.
So we sat in big wrought-iron patio chairs with soft cushions in a place that really looked too neat and perfect for a Western bar, but in its woodiness and empty decor, it somehow spoke to me of Colorado, though Colorado bars have a lot of folksy charm.
We talked about Linsanity, “racism” & cultural-ism, ESPN, American presidential candidates, language, The Philippines, my laptop & power converters, and good places to live. Chris is a big (well bigger than me) friendly guy with a booming-friendly, mid-range voice that sports a slight nasal quality and perfect mid-west pronunciation. You can hear all his ‘rs’.
Debbie, Chris’ wife- played a game on her phone as her informative husband and I spoke. Occasionally she interjected-once to tell us what we’d been talking about as we’d lost our place after the Korean waitress rather mechanically came between us to remove our mugs before we were finished. The whole time, Debbie’s and Bill’s arms were gently and relaxingly intertwined. Western relationships are warm.
He gave me his low-down on why I should live one place and not another, how I could get more time there for art, writing, and my studies, and how it wouldn’t matter if there were not much to do. We talked women, too. All the while, we nursed only one beer each. Chris knows how to save in Korea. Originally we’d stopped into an anju bar and Chris rejected it after looking at the menu. The beers were 6,000. Here they were three.
When we left, I was a ‘different person’ than I was when I had gone in. Chris, at thirty-one, is youthful–as I am told I am–educated, and socially conscious-as I try to to be-but more than anything else, he’s a “hands-on-friendly” guy who exudes “stick-to-it-iveness”, “roll-up your sleeves-and get-it-done-ness”, and most of all, folksy charm.
When I’m around people like Chris, the real Carl is on the scene; the one I’ve wanted a certain someone to see for a long time. We all need to feel at home-and can’t always be the star of the show. Carl needs a another Carl-to entertain HIM, sometimes.
Thanks Chris & Debbie! I had a great time.
© Copyright 2012 Carl Atteniese Jr., All Rights Reserved. Peace, Love, Joy, & Imagination to you.

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Carl is a Tokyo-based Writer, Artist, Videographer and Voice Actor from New York interested in Japanese, Ukiyo-e, philosophy and aerospace. For more about him, see his About pages.

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