My friend Liz and I went out to dinner last night. We met at her subway station (Jukejon) and decided to walk around and look for a restaurant. A few minutes into our walk, we decided that we didn’t want to eat just yet. The weather was perfect and a little exercise never hurt anyone.
A few blocks from the station, we came across a furniture store. It looked like an American furniture store – a huge storefront showroom with lots of sofas prominently displayed in the front. I told Liz that I haven’t sat on a sofa in weeks. She said that she hasn’t either. We couldn’t resist walking in and fake-shopping for a few minutes.
The furniture was very expensive, and equally hideous. I couldn’t believe how ugly the sofas and tables were. Koreans’ collective love of Bedazzling is apparently not limited to clothing. They are not scared of a little glitter.
As we looked around, a salesman came from the back and greeted us. His first question was whether we were military. His English was barely intelligible, so I told him in Korean that we are teachers. He seemed to like that answer. He began to show us around and point to the sofas that he thought were the best. We would sit down, “ooh” and “ahh”, and then move on to the next one.
After a few minutes, we got bored. It was time to leave. As we said goodbye to the salesman, I shook his hand. He didn’t let go. Instead, he held on tight and looked me up and down. After a few awkward seconds, he gestured for us to follow him to the back of the showroom. He stopped at a kitchen table set and pointed for me to sit down. I did as I was told.
The man sat down across from me and motioned for me to take his hand. Uh oh…he wants to arm wrestle. This guy was quite a bit older than me, but he didn’t look weak. On the contrary, he looked and felt strong when I grabbed his hand. He showed me where to place my non-wrestling hand (against his elbow). The salesman counted down from 3 in Korean, and we were off.
The fact that he knew how to arm wrestle properly (and I didn’t) scared me. I was sure he was going to eat my lunch. As soon as we began, he leaned into me and pulled so hard that his face turned bright red and the veins in his forehead popped out. His face shook as he kicked it into second gear.
I didn’t have much trouble keeping my arm still, but it wasn’t easy moving his. Since I didn’t know what I was doing, I decided to wait him out – he was wearing himself out without moving my arm, so I might as well let him work. I waited at least ten seconds before making my move. I finally leaned left and put some effort into it…but nothing happened. He didn’t budge.
I reverted to Plan A. We stayed locked in the middle for another ten seconds – the salesman struggling mightily and me holding him off. Once I was sure he had worn himself out, I tried again. It took a few seconds, but I felt his arm move a bit to the left. And then some more. Suddenly, his arm gave out slammed down on the table. I won!
I plan to get back into a workout routine before I go furniture shopping again. This was just a dry run, but next time maybe I can arm wrestle for some discounts.
Until next time.