HAPPY NEW YEAR, BABO
Let me relay you a story about my first day of the year:
Last Thursday - New Year's Eve - I left my house in a frenetic sprint (I was late) and began the evening in PNU, which is the big university are in Pusan for any and all of you unKorean people out there. Sammy and I dined on Turkish food in a frigid basement restaurant. We were the only guests, save a table of about 15 chain-smoking Pakistani guys, who surreptitiously swigged off a whisky bottle (if you drink fast enough, Mohammed can't catch you) and shouted demands at the beleaguered proprietor of the joint, a squat Turkish guy who looked like a sweating meatball.
After dinner we headed to The Basement, for their big New Year's Party. My band was playing, so it was kind of a gig for me, as well. Sam felt sick and went home early, thinking he was coming down with the flu. The place filled up and I proceeded to drink beer like water at an oasis, and by the time we went on, you could say that I was indeed, totally caned. But we played and rocked and the people seemed to like us or be too drunk to care, and around 4AM the buses pulled up to take us to the beach.
Matt, the owner of The Basement - also owns a small bar called Blowfish out on Seongjeong Beach, so he chartered two buses to take the party out there. The idea was that we'd end the night at Blowfish and catch the first sunrise of the new year, a tradition in Korea. So before I knew it we were at the bar, drinking more beer and yes, watching the sun peek out from behind the horizon. It was beautiful, stirring, and really, really cold.
It had been cold the whole day before, with a Siberian wind whipping down onto The Peninsula. It hadn't let up in the morning, and the result was a painful beach. The wind cut through my clothes and made standing outside of the bar pretty much unbearable.
But all of the entering and exiting the joint had made the inside of the bar frigid as well. At one point I was talking to an English girl. Her face is a grey blur to me now, but she was very cold, and wanted to warm up in my coat - a big fuck off army parka I bought in Seattle last year. So, being a gentlemen of the highest stripe, I accommodated the lady and let her try it on. In the meantime, I had to pee, and went to the bathroom at the back of the place. There was a bit of a line, and it took me a few minutes to get back inside. Once I was, I saw the Little Miss Britain was nowhere to be seen.
"Have you see an English chick wearing a big black coat?"
"Oh, you mean *****? Yeah, she just went home."
She went home. With my coat, which also contained my phone. And my keys. I was fucked.
Some of her friends still lingered at Blowfish, and they gave me her number, which we tried calling, but English girl wasn't picking up. We then tried my phone as well, but, no luck.
"Oh, she's really flaky," her Irish friend confided. "She often gets really drunk and does stuff like this."
Not knowing really what to do or where to go, I hung out for a few more hours into the late morning, badgering her friends, turning evil and cranky, and generally being a miserable tit who managed to make myself well hated by this crew of degenerate Paddies and Brits. Eventually Pat, who owns The Crown, offered to share a cab with me back there, which we did, and then promptly passed out in the dank, cold bar.
I awoke that evening in the dark, shivering, to the smell of stale beer, cigarette smoke, and the faint scent of urine. The first thing I did was track down the slip of paper where I had written this girls' number and proceed to call her via the house phone. Again, no answer. My phone, no answer.
So I had a bit of an episode, a meltdown, as it were. I screamed. I attacked a chair. I repeatedly employed the word "cunt."
Pat woke up, gave me a look of death, and poured me a beer.
Happy New Year.
After half a beer and most of a cigarette (There goes my resolution, shit!), I dug through my wallet and found another piece of paper with her friend's number that I had barely managed to scrawl down in my drunken state. I called it. She picked up.
"I just want my coat. I really need my coat."
"I understand that. I'll try to reach my friend."
"I just want my coat. Where the fuck is my coat?!!?
"Why are you shouting at me? Don't shout at me!!" (click)
Ten minutes later the phone rang. I pick it up. It's English girl, on someone else's line. She was sorry. She had lost her phone. She'd get my coat to me that night.
And she did. It took about four hours of phone tag and talking to drunken vegetables, but eventually she put the coat in a taxi and I guided the driver to my location, the saddest bar in Busan.
Finally! My jacket! Warmth! Communication! Keys... keys? No, keys.
My keys were gone.
"Sorry, I never saw any keys," English girl replied during that last conversation.
Sam joined me at The Crown and we got good and fuzzy on shitty beer. Later on we shared at taxi back towards his place. We live near each other (heterosexual life mates) and I considered sleeping on his floor. Earlier, though, a Korean friend had text me the number for a locksmith, so I gave it a call and he picked up, agreeing to come over. I got out of the cab to wait for him.
It was then that I realized I had no money. So I walked three blocks to the bank, but the ATM's close down after midnight. I then jumped in a taxi over to Sam's, borrowed 40 bucks, and went back to my place, just in time for locksmith ajosshi to pull up in his van.
He got out. We boarded my elevator and made our way up. We stepped out of the elevator, and approached my door.
There, in my keyhole, hung ALL OF MY KEYS. They'd never left the building. In my mad rush out the door, I'd neglected to pocket them at all.
Happy New Year, Chris. Keep settin' that bar high.
Happy New Year.