I watch a police car hump over the hill. Its siren trails red and blue searchlights over the buildings like some kind of Safari jeep looking for a trophy. I’m watching from a distance. I’m aware of the Koreans awareness of me—a six foot three white man covered in tattoos. I’m also aware of Koreans antipathy towards those with tattoos, viewing them with hesitancy and wondering if they are foreign criminals.
While I’m watching the car pass, I look up at the neon-red cross sitting on a funeral pyre of thin white wooden beams. It looks like a disjointed ladder that no one sawed the ends off of; they jut out in little nubs climbing to the heavens. I hear music coming from the basement, lined with pews and linoleum, each night as I walk home. They mostly play drum solos and horn instruments; now and then I hear a violin.
I’m making my nightly purchase of four Budweisers, three bottles of soju, a pack of crackers and a few bottles of ginger ale. I drink all of the beers, eat half of the crackers, drink one bottle of soju, and then play Gold Miner on the internet until the Simpsons come on and I pass out from booze and boredom at midnight. On the weekends, the Simpsons come on at two in the morning, so I have to spend my time at the bar talking and waiting, checking my watch to make sure I didn’t miss the show.
The police car passes and bounces over the piles of gravel and dirt that mark off the street. They’re like the half painted garage your father always says he’s going to finish. At the end of one darkened street in my neighborhood is a giant crane rusting and dusty like a Trans-Am sitting on cinder blocks on someone’s front lawn.
My weeknights crawl like the cop car or a slow moving river of sap. Time feels like it moves slower here, and not in a good way. I have five months left here, and I think I’ll miss my abundance of time to ruminate.