Coffee and Cigarettes

Seoul, South Korea 1997

Enough about babysitting and calling it teaching. After all, it was just an enabler for love and adventure. Let's get back to the reason for me even being in Korea in 1997: to find Korean Love for JT.

So far we had been faked by the mysterious 보연 who gave us a phony Beep Beep number. But we had managed to get the digits of the fair Young-Sook of Skylark Family Restaurant (hereafter known only as "Skylark"). However, the most promising prospect turned out to be one of JT's students. She was a college grad, working woman he taught once a week. She had a lawyer boyfriend, but JT had a crush. She was called 지수, but her real name was 용운. She changed it when she moved to Seoul from her hometown out in the boonies. Her given name, as you can see, was way too masculine and it had been a constant source of torment in her life.

I told JT he should ask her to come meet us after class one night and we could practice English and enjoy some BBQ. That worked and we had quite a nice time. Smart, cute, employed, car owner, smoker, late 20's...the major obstacle being the boyfriend. We hung out several times and JT was chomping at the bit. We came up with a plan to make some magic. We decided to meet for BBQ again, prime the pump with a little Soju, and then employ a little trick we had heard about. On the walk from our regular BBQ place to our apartment, there was a harmless-looking little 여관. The plan was to walk in that direction after dinner and Soju and then without saying anything just walk her into the motel. I would continue on home. It was supposed to work if she had any interest and she had any 눈치.

On the way home we turned down the alley to the motel and JT took a left with 지수 towards the motel. She realized where they were headed just as she got close to the entrance, and like a petulant child plopped right down on the steps of the motel. That was it. It was clear she was not interested in going inside with him. I watched from around the corner long enough to see it wasn't going to work and I went home. Moments later JT arrived. He was bummed, but we both had a good laugh about it. She wasn't angry or upset. She just kept saying she had a boyfriend. She even said she was conflicted because she liked JT.

Aw shucks. Foiled again.

We remained friends with 지수, even having more adventures together. Our hangout place with her moved from BBQ and Soju to Coffee and cigarettes, and no love ever occurred between her and JT. As far as I know.

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