The two words that have emerged in the last couple of days are patience and affection. The essence of these two words are not that easy to put into action. There are cars out to smash me, a store owners out to over-charge me for eggs, the same store owner who’s not given me one free thing despite three or four weekly visits for a year and a half, there’s a cat in this apartment who—when not in attack-feet mode—that keeps hopping up on the counter and the kitchen table. In addition to all these things, there are conspicuously fewer days in which to do all that I want to do before I go. At the gym, I came up with the “to do” list for the remaining two weeks here.
-Contact Tim in Bangkok
-Call a person in the family daily
-Research movers for big Friday removal of appliances and large furniture; contact them and/or Mia
-Continue changing dates and ages of Toil and Sound characters; read a few subchapters aloud daily to Nic so I can finish another round of revisions
-hard sketches of more scenes in Korea novel; pitch Korea book to an editor
-write a couple more articles about hiking for BusanHaps magazine
-Write today: patience and affection
-read three short books
-Other writing topics in days to come: key chain, autobike (commemorate 17,000 km traveled in Korea with only a couple minor “run-ins,” the progress of killing a character, organizing a mover, Hobak’s story, the difficulties of no internet (worried folks—what’d they do all that time ago before the ‘net? Job ops; current events; updating and maintaining blog for continued readership), foreigners in Korea, Lars’ approach to parenting/spirituality, the last two big hikes in Korea
-Go to pharmacy
-Take photos of “chalk” outlines of car/autobike accidents. What other photos?
-Transfer photos from online to hard drive external and then to Flickr
-deliver printer to Pete, push a coat rack on him
-pack up clothes
These are in no particular order, though after writing it all down, I realize I need to prioritize these things. I am being realistic when I say I will not get to all of this. However, the more that I take care of before departure from Korea, the easier it will be for me to embrace the concepts—as foreign as they are—of patience and affection. Also, while in process of ticking things off the list, it is a perfect opportunity to put into practice the realities that face this future dad/homeowner/career-cultivator. Pop understanding of this would be Zen.
Usually a deep breath and a recitation of the word patience is enough to help me realize that the cars are not out to get me. Patience. The man at the mart is just trying to pay for after-school academies for his kids so they don’t have to be cheap-assed store owners when they have a family. Patience. The cat called Hobak is just a kid and despite his often annoying nature, he doesn’t deserve the nick-nomenclature fucker. Patience. And most of these items will be taken care of in time.
In the midst of this maelstrom—and all others that preceded and that are inevitable—affection is the easiest way I can see to nurture patience. A moment in bed or before fixing breakfast to embrace my wife, indulge my senses in all that is “her.” Mix and repeat throughout the day. When enjoying Nic’s presence for only a brief moment in a chaotic day, the word patience occurs organically and becomes the image I carry with me when thinking of cursing a car that tried to kill me, mumbling epithets about the cheap bastard as I walk out of his store, grabbing the nutty cat by the scruff of his neck calling him an unjust name.