Before leaving for Busan, Seth and I spent about 45 minutes waiting for our train in the KTX station in Daegu. We wandered around for a few minutes looking in some of the shops and stands that line the huge concourse.
As we were walking from one shop to the next, a middle-aged Korean guy walked up to us and struck up a conversation. As usual, he began by talking to Seth in Korean. I told the man that we are Americans and that Seth does not speak Korean. He switched to English. That’s when it got weird.
Man: Do you remember, maybe ten year in past. New York. Trade Centers?
Seth: Are you talking about the World Trade Center? 9/11?
Man: Yes. World Trade Center. And they say airplane crash in building.
Me: Yes sir, we are familiar.
Man: It was not real, right?
Me: …..yes it was real.
Man: No, no. It was computer graphic, right? Not real. Right?
Seth: Seriously, it was real. It was not a computer graphic.
Man: No, it not real. You know insurance company?
Man: Tower not really crash down. Insurance company get monies. It was on computer, right?
Seth: No, dude. Not on a computer.
Man: Not real, right? Not real airplane crash.
Me: Yes it was real. It was not done on a computer.
Man: Oh ok. I see. But not real, right? They make on computer, yes?
Seth: It was real.
Man: Oh, ok. Goodbye.
I have a temper sometimes, but it’s pretty damn hard for a stranger to get me riled up. Having been a cop for so long, I’ve heard it all. I still don’t know why this conversation got me riled up, but I seriously wanted to knock this guy’s teeth in. I think that if this conversation happened in the US, I wouldn’t have had the same reaction.
I didn’t lose my cool, and neither did Seth. A couple of minutes later, after I calmed down, I was pretty glad that I kept it together. Making a scene in a big public place is bad enough when you don’t stick out like a sore thumb. It’s a lot worse when you’re the only 6’2″ ginger in the whole zip code.
Until next time.