I still forget that sarcasm is basically nonexistent here. A normal person would have internalized the change within a week of arriving in Korea, but I’m struggling with it over 14 months later. Though I’m not nearly as sarcastic as I was on Day 1, I still find myself trying to dig my way out of awkward conversations during which snarky comments miss their mark. I continue to overestimate the average Korean’s ability to tell the difference in mild sarcasm and absolute mind-numbing stupidity.
Yesterday was a prime example. I had the following conversation with a random Korean guy in the subway station.
RKG: Hi. You are American?
Me: Yes, I’m American.
RKG: Where from in America?
Me: I’m from North Carolina.
RKG: Oh!!! Do you know Michael Jordan?
Me: Yep. He’s my cousin.
RKG: Really?…..No, I think he is brack.
(At this point, I’m pot-committed. If you’re gonna get wet, go swimming – right?)
Me: Yeah, he’s black. What’s your point?
RKG: But I think you are not brack.
Me: Why do you think that?
RKG: Hmmmm….I think I’m sure you are not brack.
Me: Wow, you’re good. How did you know?
RKG: ……because you do not look brack.
I’m starting to think I’ll never fit in here.
Until next time.