When I’m finished with work, when I’m done saying “Hello” 3000 times to the sincere and wicked students alike, when I’ve been stared at by the old men on the bus, harassed by the ajummas on the street, when all that is through, some days I just want to go to my teeny apartment and forget that I’m in Korea for a little while. Just be for a few quiet hours. It is the simplest of desires. And so it is the most difficult to achieve.
I am all too aware that I, Erin, am in the beginning phases of reclusedom. Meh, don’t worry about sweeping the floor today, no one else can see your cracker crumbs. Don’t worry about that t-shirt with the food stain on it – it’s only one food stain. You don’t have plans – maybe don’t put pants on today. Or tomorrow. Maybe you should start collecting newspapers and stack them from floor to ceiling, like reinforce the ceiling with newspaper pillars…make a newspaper pillar maze that will one day collapse on your body only to be found 3 years later…
Aaaaand I may have done this once or twice, but never with a Snuggie:
What I’m saying is I take my very limited alone time quite seriously here. But lately there have been….complications. The beautiful weather has revealed that I have neighbors. Not like, normal neighbors, but a tribe of teenage boys. And we all know teenagers are the worst people of all; this is a cross-cultural fact. They have nested on the roof of my neighbor’s house which, incidentally, looks directly into my apartment’s single window. (Which must be left open for cross-breeze purposes to blow my cracker crumbs under my bed.) And they spit like consumptive llamas. So it sounds like they are in my house, spitting in my house, and I have to sit there stewing about how I still have a bra on after 6 pm lest I need to enter my kitchen and, simultaneously, these boys’ line of sight. A prisoner in my own home and lingerie.Something had to be done.
The only fit course of action I had was auditory. I knew from classroom experience that me shrieking in English at these kids was not going to do anything. They would stare at me, and laugh. It had to be music.And it couldn’t be music as these hooligans understood it.
So I wracked my brain for the most inhospitable music I could think of. Haunted house soundtrack? Joanna Newsom, Queen of the Hipsters? At the risk of angering the people forced to live near me and enduring an awkward spat with them on my doorstep, it was Tom Waits’ growling turned up to 11 that I settled on. Laptop turned toward the window, hiding behind my bed, I waited for the noise to take effect. The space between my apartment and that rooftop sounded eerily like the wreck of a boat made of clarinets and rusty trumpets. Let ‘er rip, Tom. Tell us all how you feel about God.
Tom Waits > teenage boys.
Peace was restored.
I took my bra off.