It’s nice to have some variety in your monks. Now the regular Korean monk wears a gray robe, gray pants, and even maybe a gray cap, over what appears to be normal clothes beneath; old flashy sneakers may be included in this sartorial design, which ultimately ruins the sacred effect. Monks are also always shaved bald.
Yesterday as I was walking about I may have seen an exception—perhaps, and I say perhaps because he was some distance away, I saw a Tibetan monk get into a taxi cab. I’m pretty sure it was a monk, because the person was wearing robes, only the robes were of a deep dark crimson color, and partially slung over his head in a kind of hood. I thought this interesting.
And then as I continued my walk, I was accosted by a monk whose monk name—monks rename themselves—means Buddha Mountain. He’s a nice guy but a little off. He spends a lot of time trying to learn English at my university, and he also traveled to America for a month or so over the winter—to sunny, delightful, Sacramento California, where my university has some sort of exchange program. He waved me over and shouted the following: “Ian! Come on! Let’s go have a cup of coffee right now!”
I told him I couldn’t because I was on my way to teach some students (and this was the absolute truth). “Let me come with you!” he exclaimed, but I told him (perhaps somewhat impolitely) that he would have to pay. He said he would. “I can join you next week!” I then added that the students in question were two children in elementary school. He asked me for my phone number, and because I am a fool (it’s taken me years to memorize my number here), or perhaps I was subconsciously attempting to shake him off, I purposefully-accidentally got one digit wrong. I also gave him the numbers in Korean, which may have contributed to my mistake; I only realized what I had done a few minutes later, while I was singing and whistling and humming past a sign for some nearby prehistoric petroglyphs.