Notes from Korea 7/24/15
Date tonight. All the way out in the legendary Gangnam district. She’s hot. Canadian. We’ll walk between the towers and politely ask each other: do you want to try this place, or do you want to try that place over there. I don’t want to go. I can’t wear my suit because it’s swampy and the air is boiling out there. But my suit is my superpower so I’ll wear it anyway and look like a slick albino seal in a translucent shirt. And I’m tired of lying to girls; I want to have a girlfriend. I keep thinking gooey thoughts. But I also want to fuck everything. I’m at an impasse here. Tense never-ending mental negotiations. The Iran deal was cake compared to this.
But I can’t have a girlfriend. My friend fucked a girl who visited Korea. She has a boyfriend waiting at home to hear all about her trip. I high-fived my friend like he caught an interception. Didn’t know what else to do. This would probably happen to me. So I can’t have a girlfriend.
Daily Show after writing. Quirk I should give to a character: how Obama’s left hand twitches a little when Jon Stewart is asking him a question.
Clicked to the news. America is still Hell. Clicked away from the news.
A wholesome young mother with a tattoo peeking out from the strap of her church dress. She walked her toddler into the corner store as I was coming out. Laughing with the kid. I fell in love with her.
Young mob members at my gym. With full sleeves of tattoos. And they all have the same one behind their right ear. They mean mug everyone else but smile at me. Makes me feel Connected. International. Just a mysterious traveler who knows people. Like I could go into any restaurant in Kabul or some shit and know the owner. The mobsters like me because I’m tall and foreign.
Which is in contrast to this goddamn cunt with the popped collar at my cafe. He dropped his phone and I picked it up for him. He said nothing. Avoided eye contact and swiped it back as he would from a manservant. Absolute dismissal of my humanity. I wanted to snap his arms backward at the elbow. Shove his nuts into the kitchen blender. Two days later and I am still apoplectic. I need therapy. I deserve credit for not being a racist. This goddamn cunt. If his collar hadn’t been up I would have probably been fine.
Another old flame is engaged on Facebook. I was the last guy before she met her fiancé. This has happened seven times. I should be advertising this.
Going into the city and I heard the heavy chop of the KTX bullet train pulling into the second floor of the station. I thought about saying goodbye to someone as the train hovers up and sits there hissing. Then going back to my place alone and restarting the whole process. You’re going to be miserable. You can either take it in hard doses or you can have a long flat grind. What do you choose.
Saturday morning I got back from Seoul. As I do. That homeless guy with the cane was on the bus bench like always. Maybe he’s a Korean War vet. He never begs. Naps upright for hours. He’ll die on that bench and the rats will be the first to notice. I stalked past in my suit. Pissed that I didn’t get laid. Just got some clothed friendzone spooning all night like I was one of her eunuchs. She was younger than me but her last boyfriend was like 55. His doofy white face looks like cheese melted by a heat lamp. Like Old Biff Tannen but paler. But he’s a poet. Ergo vagina on demand. He dumped her. To her I was a little boy playing dress-up. Hey at least someday I’ll be 55 with a cheese face too. Bright future.
Before I was out with her I was out with my friends. I hate my friends. With them my job is to provide the laugh track for the alpha dogs. Pose incisive Howard Stern questions to them and thoughtfully parse their answers. Ask them a follow-up and then they’re checking their phones. These goddamn cunts. I am always looking for a window to jump out of.
I didn’t get laid because I kept slipping out of character. Didn’t prep enough. Banter isn’t a strength. I have to memorize shit and then pretend I’m firing off the top. I’m three different people. Our voices are different. We lead with different parts of our bodies and are motivated by different memories. At school I’m in shirtsleeves and they call me Fred Teacher. I go in two hours early to prep for the song-and-dance. Quietly edit and test all the PowerPoints. Ten minutes before showtime I wash my face and look in the mirror and become someone capable.
After school I wear a Patriots hat and I’m Fred from Boston. I do sprints on Hell Hill by the water park to this song. At the top I wheeze and wobble and bare my stupid coffee-yellowed teeth. From up there I see the hunched ajummas by the driving range fighting over cardboard scraps to sell. I watch them and somehow don’t feel lucky.
On weekends I’m (REDACTED). His pocket squares match his socks. His tie bar matches the watch. Like a true asshole. Soldiers hit him for this reason. Other people meet him and don’t realize he’s also Fred from Boston. He has the most fun but he spends all my money. So I have to work. So I have to keep being Fred Teacher.
I like the process. The rituals of transformation. Keeps the mind from flatlining. The guy on the bench sees me. All three of me. Just sits there as an eternal witness to our little street by the mountain. I wonder what he thinks of me. He probably doesn’t. He used to be three people before. Husband, salaryman, father. Now he’s bench guy. He’s still, quiet, slowly fading out of here. And he’s probably happier than I am.
I need to get a rich Korean woman pregnant. Because I don’t want to work. She doesn’t have to be Korean. It’s not yellow fever. I just think my chromosomes would look pretty good when remixed in an Asian uterus. This one Korean girl texted me. She has better English than my sister’s friends. Who are American. They are 19 and call each other bae. They all have chlamydia. I hate them. They come over and insult my mother. I hope they all get impregnated by the inbred ogres in my hometown and their lives are ruined.
Friday afternoon. Right now the world looks like a flashback of the Good Old Days. When the protagonist was a young man chasing Sally through a field of daisies or some shit. It’s beautiful. I hate it. I changed schools when I was eleven and had no friends. Sunny days meant the other kids were at a pool party. I would just go to the library. If only I’d known I was living in a flashback. Now they all work at Hannaford or do landscaping. And I can write. Which doesn’t matter because we have smartphones. Motherfuck. I should have been writing code.
OK. I need to email my grandparents. Because they’re 80. I need to sell a billion ebooks so they are proud of me. First I need to teach them what an ebook is. Then I need to stop dicking around and get back to the book. But I’m distracted. I just found this guy’s blog and he’s amazing. So I read one post and stopped. Because fuck him for being good. I don’t want him to get any more clicks. I hope he quits.
I’m living in a flashforward for me at age 11. If only he could see this bright, bright future. See me with coffee in an office. Just a competent guy doing a competent job. Just a guy with too many friends. My biggest problem of the day being the social events lined up for the next 36 hours that I’m trying to get out of. And that the Korean girl texting me isn’t rich enough.
For the sixteen people who care: this is the cover for The Colony. It’s my mystery/thriller book where things blow up. I said I’d have it out July 21st but I’m a lying bastard. So now it’s going to be August 21st. Because my plans came into hard contact with reality. I’m grinding in top gear here but there’s not enough time to get everything done. Too many other things to write. Various lengthy outings with friends so my social skills don’t atrophy. Long bike rides on the river so I don’t shoot up a mall.
August 21st. Kindle to start with. I know I can hit that date. It’s priority number one. I’m working on this thing like the Manhattan Project. The illustrious Karen Rawson proofed my manuscript for me (and I read and proofed her book, too. It’s about cyberbullying. I really liked it and it’s here) and now I’m going through my book a final time with a scalpel and a microscope. I’ll check in with you soon.
I am in a mood. If someone around me is scowling then I want them to die. If someone around me is laughing then I want them to die. Couples run for the closing train doors and I hope they get sliced in half. Spent the day doing final final final edits on my book. The guy who did the last draft in January is a fucktard. He made mistakes. Cocky airhead. His style is flabby. Had to get out the knife and slash. Kill the rookie. Fuck this guy. He should have been better by then. Now I gotta come through and mop up.
Fuck this guy. He was 22 and playing Killzone on PS2 after work. Going to bed wondering why he’s anxious. I want to go to back in time. Cinch the PS2 cord around his neck and break his nose. Handcuff him to the desk and open MS Word. Get going. Now I’m 27 and the comments I get from other writers who I don’t know are “nice one.” “Cool.”
Good. Level unlocked. But now I want superlatives. I’m an animal and I can’t stop thinking about it. This is all I can do. It’s unacceptable to not be undeniable by now. If you’re that good at something then your other defects are forgivable. If you’re not good at something then you’re just a weird guy. So, get to work. I wish this were something you could punch or a mountain you could run up. Brute force and a few blinks of agony and then you’re done. But no. You need to be smart. Hone your instincts. You gotta read. You need a few thousand hours of spare time and then a few thousand more.
My buddy got drunk and told me they have a separate group chat that I’m not in so they can coordinate meetups because they know I’ll bail. Well it’s true, I will. I would hang out with you guys but I can’t remember what human beings are supposed to talk about.