Tuesday, February 16, 2010


I've done a lot of things in my life to please the women I've loved*, but never anything that might get me killed. Until now.

I'm a fairly easygoing guy**, Joseph Conrad Retard, and the life I've led in le Republic de Corée has been one mostly of pleasure. Time is of course a big factor in adjusting to life in a foreign country, and I've certainly mellowed over the ten years I've been marooned on this ROK, but even back when I was a fresh-faced*** young man of twenty-two I wasn't the type to bitch and moan about the "hardships" I faced. No; I played the hand I was dealt and rolled with the punches****. Because that's what a man is supposed to do, dammit.

You also learn to pick your spots. For example, I never go shopping at the large supermarkets on the weekend, because I know it's like being holed up in the Monroeville Mall. And I never go to a 노래방 if I can help it. It's best for everybody that way, trust me.

But I'll do either to placate the 12th Letter, also known as Legs, personally known as my dear wife. After all, she asks for so little ("Not in my hair") and gives so much (sandwiches!).

Getting a Korean driver's license, though...that's a favor I was loath to grant (Hill). At the risk of offending my host nation, let's just say that Korean drivers are a wee bit overzealous, a tad lax when it comes to obeying traffic rules. If I can help it, I stay away from vehicles like Superman stays away from Kryptonite, like Jodie Foster stays away from good film roles. Nevertheless, when Legs asked me one month ago to get a Korean driver's license, I finally relented after much protest. Because, you know, I enjoy regular sex (also: I'm a non-eunuch male).

And so it was that, one month ago, I took time out of my busy Saturday schedule to attend three hours of Driver's Ed, or, as I like to call it, "shit I already know." A week later, I again postponed a relaxing Saturday to take a fifty-minute computer exam. In English (or, rather, a reasonable, hand-drawn facsimile thereof). Seriously, that test was balls hard, taken in a language with words I understood but sentences that resembled a thrown-together jumble of nonsense. I should mention that a textbook exists for this test, but it's absolutely useless. The text, while poorly written and edited, is at least comprehensible. The computer exam? No way. Needless to say, I was quite surprised to learn that I passed, although it's a bittersweet victory when you need to get higher than 70 percent to succeed and wind up with a 72.5. In my defense, that test is bullshit; I'm confident I would have scored higher had it been written in Spanish.

(Sidenote: This all could have been avoided had I registered for an international driver's license prior to three years past my Canadian driver's license expiration date: 2004. But instead of foresight I have, unfortunately, Forbesight.)

All of which leads us to today, wherein Mammy Forbes's second son, Chicken Wire*****'s half-brother, took part in four excrutiatingly dull hours of "driving."

As it turns out, there's really not much to getting a driver's license in Korea. (Which perhaps explains why I saw a Siberian Husky driving a Sonata in rush hour traffic. It was that or the PCP.) You sit through a three-hour education class, take a computer exam, do three or four hours driving at 20 km/h through a bizarre course which doesn't measure your actual skill as a driver so much as it does your ability to memorize, get dropped off in the middle of a highway by a seemingly drunk shuttle bus driver (no lie), and then you're ready for your road test.

I take mine next week. Fingers crossed.

* All two and a half of them

** Unless you break my DVD collection or mess up my Burger King order

*** Well, I'm still pretty darned fresh-faced. Just today I was asked if I was a student. Take that, Father Time!

**** It's two-for-one cliche Tuesday (and everybody's celebrating)

***** aka Tuna Mustache

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