2.2 Winter 2020-2021

June 17, There Is Always a Weird Roommate

The Russian twirled a butcher knife a foot away from where I was making a snack and said,

“I like your scarf.”

“Yes, I’m wearing it because I am cold.” I responded neutrally, remembering how when I went to gather my laundry this morning I found that instead of hanging his clothes on the second empty line, he simply pushed my clothes to the middle of the first line and hung his underthings so that they were touching mine.

“Are you cold because you’re alone?”

“…what?” I stared at him, baffled. His conversational timing was nearly as off as the Male Korean.

“Alone, A-L-O-N-E.” He explained, committed to steamrolling through this without regard for the awkward atmosphere. There’s a word in Korean for being cognizant of the atmosphere in the room and is famously called “nunchi“. In English, it could be equated to situational awareness or more accurately, emotional intelligence. Some people have it and some people don’t.

“Uh… No…?” I responded, not willing to give this weird conversation any more fodder.

Maybe this is a pickup line that works better in Russian.

A moment later, he handed me a quartered pomegranate and said “here, this can make you warm” then returned to his room, snack in hand, to play Xbox live.

I feel that one strange man may have simply been replaced with another…

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