I Miss Korea

Yeah guys, you heard it here first: I’m glad I’m going back. I fell in love with the bars of my cage a long time ago. I’m glad, at least, that we’ll get moving soon. My dad told me awhile back he met someone recently who had walked across the entire planet, just as I had been thinking that I would like to do the same thing on a bike that I had constructed myself, so that I would understand what to do in the event of breakdowns and not be left to the mercy of those notoriously unscrupulous bike repairmen!

But then an electric car would be fine, especially if I could sleep inside, exploring North and South America, stopping whenever I found anything of interest for as long as I pleased. My wife and I are going to have enough money to do that one day, we’re going to free ourselves in the same way Boxer wished to free himself and study the alphabet—free ourselves not from the cycle of rebirth, but the cycle of work—and enter the nirvana of standing on a beach in Bali before a slow explosive sunset of purple and yellow and think that we can stay there for years if we want to, that there is no concern to hurry us along as we sculpt the wet sand with our bare feet. Travel, and not dangerously conspicuous consumption, will be our decadence.

Yeah, yeah, yeah—I can’t have that now (though who knows, perhaps I can!), but to move about is good enough, and in a month’s time I’ll be back in that little apartment that overlooks the highway and the trucks and the motorbikes, the flat pane of the river, the mountains that curl like the galaxies of Picasso’s Starry Night, the square buildings of the university clustered over to the side of the diagonal bridge. I’ll be back, devouring cheap spicy food, hugging my in-laws, enjoying the company of all, walking to school to declaim like Demosthenes before classes of college students, nothing short of a real bounce to my stride, planning my next venture to lands known or unknown.

This place, America, it’s nice, quiet, relaxing—the wet green grass is like an intoxicating bed! it puts you to sleep, like the flowers before Emerald City—and you’ve got to accept that you’re stuck where you are, but in Korea there is still a feeling in the air that you can make it if you really want to, and we will.

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