2.1 Summer & Fall 2020


I saw the mess my male roommates had left upstairs and had a white hot flash of memory to remind me why I haven’t had roommates if I couldn’t help it.

My male Korean roommate, to sum it up politely, is “a funny guy”. The house owner made this observation wryly as she unboxed a giant styrofoam case of popsicles he had ordered via delivery. I’ll admit I felt validated in my initial assessment of him.

Later, I headed upstairs to the communal kitchen table to find him already there, listening to a morning music mix too loudly and writing in a journal.

“Can I join you?”

We sat and chatted about weather and food since his English is not great and something told me not to reveal my Korean skills (or lack of Korean skills); I suddenly had the foreknowledge I would learn things about him in Korean that I couldn’t unlearn.

The ball had already started to roll, though.

He told me in the morning he practices yoga and meditates before going to work. He also told me he hates all Chinese and thinks the Korean government is too socialist.

I wasn’t enough of a masochist to ask him his opinion of the anti-discrimination bill and was already vibrating with anger. I checked myself out of the conversation shortly after lest I say something truly unforgivable.

Then I realized he was a parallel to the growing number of young, affluent, educated young men in the US who also think affordable healthcare and equal rights are socialist anarchy.

We will be talking about the weather only from now on (upon recounting this one friend said, “Does he also hate the weather? Since everyone has to share?”). At the very least when I saw him later he fetched me a frying pan, so our relationship is not completely useless.

I finally paid the house owner my rent and she later invited me up for pizza.

It was not only her and her cousin, but also another young woman in a fuzzy jacket with great skin and little interest in me.

The cousin, you know her as the freshman, ate the thin crust pizza like there was no tomorrow.

The house owner asked me if I could eat pizza after all since she’s observed me almost every day weighing chicken breasts and oatmeal.

(Macro planning is helpful in that I eat healthy and also have some room for questionable cheesy delights from Fred Pizza.)

I briefly regaled the table in Korean about the freshman’s confidence in securing a boyfriend to which the friend laughed and said something like “..seems like a mom”. The house owner translated it as “you’re funny”.

The dissonance confused me so I just said “oh ok”.

I thought the friend might be more engaged since she knew I could speak some Korean but in the middle of a story I looked at her and she had already pulled out her phone.

It’s curious how people become friends.

If I see her again maybe she’ll be more comfortable. Or maybe not.

Regardless, it’s still nice to hear people come in and out, to hear the tinkling of plates as people get dinner ready, to hear the dog’s nails clacking on the hardwood, and I shudder to think how much more boring I would be in a one room studio without a cast of characters to keep me engaged.

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