My phone finally crapped out today. Well, that sentence it wrong in a few ways. Considering that I don’t have a phone number, I’m not sure that it’s really a phone and it didn’t exactly crap out and it didn’t do it today. It’s been fucked up for a while. I replaced it today.

Got this thing after smashing up my previous phone on the job. This phone was supposed to be durable. Considering how crap its specs were and how heavy it was, durability was, indeed, its only real selling point. Turns out it wasn’t even durable. This piece of shit ended up falling apart -I’ve had to gorilla glue it back together a few times- has a battery life of about two hours when inactive, and, on top of that, runs so hot you have to be careful of where you touch it. Like, I started getting afraid that the damn thing was going to explode. Did I mention that it just randomly turns off? Because that’s also a thing it does. And forget notification because those shrink the two hours of battery life to about half an hour.

And all of that has been going on for a while. Since I got it, actually. Caterpillar as a brand is dead to me. Dead! That phone had exactly one job and it failed at it. I mean, its screen never shattered so at least I wasn’t carrying around broken glass but that’s kind of a low bar to clear. That phone was like buying Dickies and having them burst into flames and dissolve within a week. It’s just not what you get Dickies for. You expect a bit of durability.

So, this device, the red hot brick of dead battery in my pocket, has been replaced. I’m now using my wife’s old phone. It’s a lot better than whatever this thing was. To be honest, I’m not sure why I waited so long to do this or why it hasn’t occurred to me to do this until today. Like, she’s been on a new phone for about a year now. This has actually been an option for that long. I can be stupidly stubborn, I guess. Some people like getting new things. Me? I just get mad at the old thing I have to replace. And I still don’t have a phone number.

But, man, the camera on this new thing is so much better.

Aside from this, we hit up the market today. Might as well do that while we can. Gwangchu is on Level Two and I feel like we might be joining them in the near to mid future.

These days, South Korea is sort of bouncing between days where we have 20 new cases and days where we have 60. It’s been like this for a bit. About half of these are imported and caught at the airports. 282 deaths so far. I think it’s been a while since we had a death. I’m not really sure how long but it’s been a while. Some of this is because we’re now seeing a higher percentage of young people catching the bug. This increases spread but dips death –at least, temporarily– and their treatment also requires fewer resources.

The government has also recently tried to clarify its messaging. We now have three levels of emergency classification and response.

Level 1 is below fifty new cases a day, which the health system can manage — depending on the percentage of severe cases, which, of course, take more resources. Level 2: Between fifty and a hundred cases a day, which is still manageable but your margins are getting real thin. Level Three: Above 100 new cases, which sends us back into the highest red alert.

The goal is to stay at Level 1. To do this, we may be looking at further adjustments to Churches and Temples. Small clusters keep emerging out of these gatherings. And we’re all being cautioned about small gatherings in general. Short of another shutdown, and even with one, the government can’t do much to regulate small informal gatherings of people so it’s depending on the citizens to do their part with this, and avoid gathering in small groups.

We’ve also started hearing about “role model cases.” Like, ‘X caught COVID. Although he went out to eat, he kept his space, wore a mask at work, observed hygiene, and did not attend gatherings. X followed the guidelines, and, as a result, X passed COVID to no one. X is a role model. Good job, X. Nice work!’ That sort of thing. I like this sort of encouragement.
But the thinking from the authorities is that the situation remains critical. We’re in the start of a formation of a second wave. In other words, Wave 2 is just fixin’ to go.

A lot earlier than anyone expected but I’m not sure anyone expected the Anglosphere to go the way it did as fast as it did. Like, we should have been dealing with a lot of well though out, rotating and rapid, international coordination and response to this global crisis for a while now and instead . . . . Well, you probably know the instead. Is what it is.

But, anyway, went to market today and all hyped up on my Korean classes, continue to make a public nuisance of myself. At this point, basically I can ask what someone’s name is, which is often a pretty inappropriate thing to do, and then I’m in right over my head. It’s embarrassing but I just can’t worry about being in over my head. Like, I’m at the bottom of the ocean. Over my head is about how I’m going to live for the foreseeable future.

Even, as far as the name thing goes, I’m not really sure what mine is.

Like, you have an Anglo name and a Korean name, and a lot of Koreans have a Korean name and an Anglo name, and, as it stands, my Anglo name, Ryan, is just kinda complicated and cumbersome. Korean has no R sound and to spell Ryan, you get 러이언, which only kinda-sorta sounds like Ryan. It also, to me, makes absolutely no intuitive sense in the spelling. That just isn’t how I’d spell it. But if I just go by my last name, Oakley, you get 오 크 리, which sounds a lot more like Oakley, and, on top of that, it’s just a very easy and typical Korean name. Like, it’s Oh Keh Lee.

Like, a name is just some bullshit noise that makes me turn my head (much like a fork dropped onto a restaurant floor — still, after all these years, sigh) and I have no great loyalty to being called Ryan — it’s just a habit– and a lot of my life, I was always called Oakley, just because Catholic schools are just totally lousy with Ryans and Tonys, so I figure simplicity is the thing. 오 크 리 feels right. But I’m not sure what’s appropriate in this case. I know the Seagull’s shortstop, Machado, is just going by that name (마 차 도) and probably for about the same reasons. Still, one doesn’t want to go around acting like a baseball player, let alone a shortstop. Probably not even if they are a baseball player or a shortstop.

But anyway, after market had to hit up the grocery store because, well, we needed 밥 and I’m not carrying a 10kg sack for a few miles in humidity up a mountain.

Mrs. Bak did see Wife and I coming back from the grocery store. Seeing me carrying this sack and a grocery bag while my wife remained empty handed, Mrs. Bak popped out of the dry-cleaners to shout her strong approval of my wife complete with a double thumbs up.

I’m pretty well trained, I suppose.

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