7:15 PM and the whores are clopping to work. Still in their skirts and heels, and it’s December. Not even leggings. It’s winter in Korea, I can see your goosebumps from the end of the block, how can you dress like this. That is dedication. But I get it; the wares must be displayed. It’s a different type of prostitution here. In Thailand your average hooker gets sold into it by a family member and ends up stuck in a ping-pong parlor in Bangkok for 10 years. In Korea college girls get into it because they can spend a few hours a week in the starfish position and earn enough for a Gucci tote.
It’s winter in Korea. Already, even though we’ve still got more than two full weeks until the solstice. But winter here has engaged in what is commonly known as a false start. It’s already here. The sun is gone and the toothpaste tube in my bathroom is frozen solid as a railroad tie. I step outside and it’s like I just did a shot, my nipples go hard enough to cut glass. The Siberian wind, the very wind that made Stalin’s gulags what they were, blows out of the north and cuts down the peninsula. It’s too early for this. But apparently even the seasons in Korea cheat. I shouldn’t be surprised. We’re talking about a country that was barred from holding SAT exams last year due to rampant cheating; too many Korean kids were beating native English speakers on the written section.
It’s winter in Korea. Well, it is winter–but am I actually in Korea, I wonder. This place can’t be on planet Earth. This is just a dead rock, lost in space. We have been forgotten by the sun. No life or love can flourish here. You are alone and you will be alone forever. The love of your life probably lives ten miles away but you’ll never meet her because who’s going to go out to the bars when there’s sweatpants and Netflix inside.
Welcome to Lazy Season. When the cold of the universe seeps through the atmosphere and makes you shiver like you swallowed a jackhammer. Every second is a battle. Just get inside go inside get inside get warm stay warm be warm never leave the warmth.
How we deal with this brutal chill is, of course, how we determine who is a man and who is a mere boy. Fuck it, I will gladly mark myself down in the boy column. The pussy column, actually, if there is one. If I were a shopkeep’s son in Kandahar the War on Terror would have ended in December 2001. The CIA black baggers would have been shocked how easy they had it with me. Toss me out in that bitter Afghan winter night and three minutes later I’d be clawing at the door and admitting that it was I who planned 9/11. They wouldn’t have even have had to fill up the waterboarding basin. Lil’ Bushie would now be serving his fourth term at the request of a grateful nation.
Once I reach shelter, that heater is coming on. Fuck the planet, fuck my hypothetical grandchildren. If global warming is the cost of staying warm, global warming it is. How can I help. Can I take a flamethrower to some icebergs or perhaps some acres of rainforest, can I club baby seals to death, can I drown seagulls in a fifty-five gallon drum of crude oil. I don’t even know how it works, to be honest. Just—whatever it takes. Let’s just keep this planet hot as balls. You think you have convictions, see, until you get really cold.