Woah, that’s weird.November 5, 2006
So, i get done with a night of liquor and song and remember before i head up the stairs that i’m fresh out of duyu (soymilk). As someone with a long, long history of being rather anxiety prone when it comes to making sure my breakfast provisions are in order before I go to sleep (long story), I made the long (uh, about 200 feet) trek to the nearest mom and pop shop. On the way, i passed by the little police box they have there and noticed the same young man sitting guard as he always is, looking bored at 1am, like he always does. At the store, I decided to get him a snack and a drink along with my breakfast supplies, just to be a mensch, you know (well, more like a chintzy means of penance – with snacks being cheap and my crimes against humanity many, korea offers me a great chance to pay back a little karma bit by bit).
As I head back, I approach the box gingerly, so as not to inspire a burst of tracer fire, and hold up the treats. I’ve done this before, so he’s not shocked and he accepts with a smile. This time, however, I talk a little bit to him and ask him what exactly he’s doing here. It’s not a normal neighborhood police box, but looks to be like a guard post. Indeed, it is, he said. A former president lives here. A-ha, I thought. I figured something like that, but the house wasn’t that big, the neighborhood not that swanky to go right on up to the top of the heap. But indeed, “President Choi Gyu-ha” he said.
Well. I go home to check out ol’ President Choi and I realize my ears have failed me once again. He didn’t say “he lives here.” He said, “He lived here.” You see, President Choi died two weeks ago Sunday, and I happened to hear the ambulance and see the news crew outside his house that morning, not having any idea what I was actually seeing. Interesting.
And that, my dear readers, is the excitement of my life in Korea these days (besides fun b-day parties, of course!).