Tag Archive | wandering

Mr. Good Morning

Here’s a story.

I used to pass this guy every morning on my way to work at this certain streetlight. He’d be on a bike and I’d be walking.

He was an older Korean guy wearing a baseball cap and aviator sunglasses, always casually dressed but super neat like if it were raining he’d be riding the bike one handed holding an umbrella with the other, and the open umbrella would be perfectly parallel to the road, not held sloped or slanted like you or I or any other slob would.

Anyway, he always said “Good Morning” to me, so that’s the name I gave him. He was like my alarm clock. If I didn’t see him on my way to work, I knew I’d be late.

But in the past few months there’s been all this construction near work and I’ve had to detour past the place where we usually met, so I hardly see him. I still do but it’s rare and no matter when I do, he always breezes by me on his bike saying “Good Morning.” This even happened once on a Saturday afternoon.

So I told Jin about the guy and she thought it was amusing. But then earlier this week we were coming out of the supermarket and there the guy was in his track suit and wearing a cravat (and baseball cap). It was nighttime, he said “Good Morning”, and we stopped and chatted with him. Turns out the guy’s a retired master ship’s surgeon from the Korean Navy who works as a school crossing guard, which is where he’s always going in the morning. He also thought I was from Uzbekistan. Jin was more than a little amused by that, and after we left she said, “You know that guy’s now going to take you out drinking.”

That might be interesting.

Yes.

Wanderer, your footsteps are
the road, and nothing more;
wanderer, there is no road,
the road is made by walking.
By walking one makes the road,
and upon glancing back
one sees the path
that never will be trod again.
Wanderer, there is no road–
Only wakes upon the sea.

– Antonio Machado

More From Disorienting Encounters

“There is no better way of obtaining useful information than by mixing with people. According to a wise saying of the ancients: “The eye never tires from seeing, nor the ear from hearing.”

Therefore, I decided with the help of God to blacken these pages with what I saw and heard during this voyage, be it clear or obscure. For I am but a woodgatherer of the night, the one who lags behind, a horse who is out of the race.”

– Disorienting Encounters: Travels of a Moroccan Scholar in France in 1845 – 1846. The Voyage of Muhammad As-Saffar

Sometimes One Even Does It By Oneself

“During their leisure time you will see them promenading on the streets and boulevards. One of them takes his friend, male or female, by the hand and they set out on a stroll, going back and forth with purposefulness as if they had a goal in mind, but their only intention is talk and relaxation. Sometimes one even does it by oneself. They say it is useful for reflection, for revealing hidden thoughts, and for discovering new ways of doing things; and I tried it and it was true.”

Disorienting Encounters: Travels of a Moroccan Scholar in France in 1845 – 1846. The Voyage of Muhammad As-Saffar

I Went Hiking Again

I’ll spare everyone the stories of bus karaoke. Let’s just say I have new found fear of some of my coworkers. This hike was part of a school trip where all the teachers rent a bus and have “fun” together. “Fun” meaning hiking, meaning walking up a mountain and down again and then eating so much food as to be near to bursting.

That’s “fun”.

Anyway, we went to Mungyeong and walked through the mountain gates would-be Confucian scholars would have to pass through when on their way to Seoul to take their civil service exams. The whole area makes much of its pre-20th century Korean history, which isn’t surprising considering its 20th century history might not be so cool.