log: COVID DIARY CYCLE 1:

벌레 일지 WORMDATE: 10.41M(+475,276): 1,104(-26): 13,141(+384 )(0.13%)

COVID DIARY CYCLE 1:

They say you should always treat people how you want to be treated. So I’ve started announcing dinner time by clanging a fork against a metal tray of food and shouting “CHOW TIME, PATIENT 420-69!” Then I leave the tray outside the door and scurry back to The Purity Zone. Patient 420-69 will send me a message when she’s done.

It’s easier to think of her as Patient 420-69 than as my wife, or really even as her, or human or anything. Really, I should start using “it.” At any rate, it has a good appetite tonight.

It has five pills to take three times a day and more pills if those pills don’t work.

Day One has been a nightmare although things seem to be settling down a little now. During First Cycle plus Some, I only had three hours of sleep and those three hours were garbage.

Stress about a water heater, mainly. You see, we were supposed to get a new water heater today. Ours dates back to the Chosun era, it is perhaps the oldest water heater in Korea, and, as such, it just doesn’t work. Been a winter of cold showers mixed with the odd blast of scalding hot. But we can’t actually talk to our landlord. We have to go through Wife’s boss to speak to the landlord. And the Landlord speaks no English and my Korean is shit.

Now, it’s kind of like Wife’s boss is renting the place and we’re subletting it from her but, not really, and I don’t want to go into the weeds on the numerous differences between the Korean rental market and what North Americans are accustomed to. But, what’s relevant is, the landlord and the boss are always fighting. These two women hate each other’s guts.

And here we are in the middle of that.

Boss or Landlord? Pick your fighter!

But with the positive Covid test, we can’t have anyone in the apartment. We are bound by law. So last night, we asked the boss to call the landlord and tell her to cancel coming today. Or, at least, let her know about the test result and that there was a sick person here. I mean, if she and everyone else involved wanted to chance it knowing about that, I’m not going to stop her. But she has to know. That’s only fair, right? That’s only decent, right?

Boss refuses to do that. She’s like “it’s fine”, which is her general attitude towards everything that doesn’t directly affect her. And I’m like, “pretty sure it’s not fine at all” which is my general attitude towards everything. And I’m not going to lie for her. I’m not going to coverup a covid case. Aside from the plain fucking immorality, that’s the sort of shit that could get us thrown in jail or kicked out of the country or both. I don’t even have anything to gain except, maybe, a week of hot water. I can make fucking do. My goal in any crisis is to navigate it without embarrassing myself too badly. I am not with this ridiculous little caper at all.

The whole thing is just so completely stupid and petty. And it’s just the sort of thing that you know is going to be a problem. All night, I could see the problem coming. The problem would arrive at 9:30AM. The maddening thing is that it’s such an easily avoidable problem. It could have been avoided with one phone call. I’m pissed at the boss. Like, we don’t have enough going on with the whole covid thing, she has to add this shit to our lives? And because I want to keep this place even after my wife switches jobs, I tell my wife, “look, I am throwing your boss under the bus on this one.” That’s fine. We’re in agreement. Fuck this.

So I write a note in Korean. I can speak a very little bit but I can write more, and with the help of translate, I can kind of get across what I want to say most of the time. I write and print a note. And wait. And wait. And can’t sleep. And 9:30 comes.

A workman comes to the door. I thought it was going to be the landlord installing the heater. I give him the note. He reads it. Makes a call. And he’s out. No muss, no fuss. He’s happy I told him, it’s no big deal, they can come back when the quarantine is over. Fine. Cool.

I go back inside and relax. That was surprisingly simple. I feel a weight lifted off my back. Even feel a little proud of myself, as one does when they do the right thing.

Then the doorbell. And there’s the landlord. And she’s pissed.

I give her the note. And she loses her damn mind.

And after a while of that, I’m like, it is what it is. But she’s put the note in her purse and I’m like please give me the note back. Because, I had to put things on paper but I HATE LEAVING EVIDENCE. She pulls it out and starts to hand it to me but gets suddenly suspicious and stubborn. And she doesn’t want to give me the note back. So I’m like, this is something I’m saying to you, not something I want you to present to my wife’s boss. Like, if the boss asks, I’ll tell her and I’ll tell her straight, but I don’t want my side of things represented to her by her nemesis. Would you? Like, our visas depend on work.

We end up in a tug of war over the note. In the hall. A physical tug of war. Me and this little old lady! And she’s doing this sort of very loud, fake crying, shouting thing that people sometimes do here. I do not like that noise. I’m immune to tears, fake or otherwise, but especially fake. Tears do nothing for me. So I’m like – “why are you like this?”

And I end up snatching the note from her hand. We argue for a while longer. I don’t even know what the hell we’re arguing about. But we are really having a good time of it. I’m all like — “What, you want to get sick? You want Corona? Why? Why? What’s wrong with you?” I don’t know what she was saying. I’m sure it was pretty fucking awesome.

My previous sly pride in doing the right thing?

It’s fading rapidly.

Fighting with an old woman in a hallway will do that.

So, anyway, I’m just like, fine, fuck this. I leave. I go inside. I walk to the window. She’s in the yard, staring up at the window. And I’m like . . . The fuck? Like what is even happening?

Wife tells me she has her medical test report. I’m like, maybe if I show her that, we can make some sense out of all this noise. So I grab that and head downstairs. I find her in the yard and I show her the paper. I tell her to take a picture of it. She’s like, naw, that’s cool.

And then things are just like fine. We talk. She tells me she knows that I’m true, that I’m being honest, and she’s not mad with me. But she spent two hours in traffic and one on the subway to get here. And I’m like, yeah, I get it. That’s why we wanted the boss to tell you.

She makes a call, I’m like – do you want a cup of green tea? And she’s like yes. So I go upstairs, make her a cup of tea, bring it down. But she doesn’t want the tea. She has to leave. But she apologizes for losing her temper and I apologize for losing mine, and we end up exchanging numbers, and setting up another day to do this thing.

I think that we’re friends now?

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