Sunday, 29 July 2012

July 29th, 2012 Day 9

Breakfast was the same as usual— shitty. More of that unwashed grass with red pepper paste and slimy seaweed soup. This soup is a Korean birthday tradition; it seems like a trick to get children to eat gross food before they get cake. A childhood friend of mine was served liver every Halloween and he had to eat it all before he could go out trick or treating. As a kid, liver is gross, but I sure would like some liver slathered with onions right now.

I pissed off the weekend warden at roll call this morning because I didn’t sit cross-legged it with my back against the wall; I sat with my legs stretched out in front of me, lounging. The assistant guard came back and tried to explain to me.

He started off by asking if I spoke Korean. I said “no” and he proceeded to explain away in rapid-fire Korean.

I cut him off- “You just asked if I spoke Korean and I said no, and now you you’re saying a bunch of shit I don’t understand for no reason, but to listen to yourself talk, what’s the point? I don’t care.”

In Korean, he says “I guess you’re right” and walks away.

Obviously from what I wrote, I understand perfectly, I just feign ignorance because I really don’t care. How are they going to punish me if I don’t comply? I’m already locked in a small room for 23 hours a day. And the weekend warden is a complete nincompoop. You can tell just looking at him. The look of rage that welled up in his face as I stared at him. Rapping his hand on the door, as if that is some special language foreigners understand. The complete frustration on his face as he sputtered, trying to figure out what to say in any language.

When he started knocking on the glass, I wanted to jump up and start acting like a chimpanzee. That really would have pissed him off.

The assistant locked rather amused by it all.

And the day has just started. Sometimes, some of the guards aren’t so bad. I doubt any prison guard in North America would invite you to have coffee with them or bring around slices of watermelon on a hot day. The assistant guard invited me for a cup of coffee in the control room. His English is about as good as my Korean. He says he would rather travel and work in a prison (who wouldn’t) but he doesn’t have any other skills. People may think I’m selfish because I live the way I do, but I rather be considered selfish than feel miserable about my lot in life. I may be in a jail cell now, but I will not always be here. Unless the guard gets a new job and/or skills, he’ll always be here. How depressing. Of course, as of now, he gets to go home at the end of the day— I don’t.

It turns out I can buy a comb, but only on Tuesday. Actually, I can buy a lot of things, but only on certain days of the week. For example, if I want a pen, I have to wait until Thursday. On Monday, I can buy a watch. No one knows why it’s like that, just that it’s the way things are done here.