I think I’ve accidentally turned into a middle-aged Korean man.
Lately it’s been all work, work, work, work, sleep, sleep, work, work, think about work, talk about work, sleep, sleep, work, work, work. Then last night I sat with some friends in a dak galbi restaurant (surrounded, obviously, by middle-aged Korean men on one of their usual post-work sessions), yawning and fanning myself and talking about… well, work. Eventually the only thing I could do was reach for the soju bottle.
I developed quite a pleasing system. Every time I (or someone else) said something work-related that made me grimace, sigh, or put my head in my hands, I took another shot of soju. This is clearly what happens to those overworked business men when their jobs start killing them. And I must confess, after weeks of feeling too tired to go out, being unable to muster up the energy or enthusiasm to join in conversations, and leaving early from any events I do force myself to go to, I felt like a whole new person once I was suitably revived by the Korean wonder drink.
It was probably this feeling that led me to march cheerfully into our usual Friday night bar and order a tequila sunrise. Which would have been fine, had it actually been Friday, or had I sipped it like a lady and not polished it off in ten minutes and chased it down with, erm, four more. The fact that it was Wednesday night somehow faded into the happy, fuzzy haze around me as I demanded that the bar staff play Take That songs and then danced merrily until 2am. I loved my lovely, lovely local bar and the lovely, lovely bar staff, and I adored my lovely, lovely friends, and the lovely, lovely tequila sunrises.
This morning, when my alarm pierced my brain like fifty large needles, I woke up (shivering due to apparently having slept with the air conditioning on its coldest setting all night), had a brief moment of embarrassment as I recalled singing my heart out with South African Friend Two at a hot dog stand (to a round of applause from the vendors), and contemplated teaching the lovely, lovely children all morning. It was not a happy thought, to be perfectly honest with you. The song lies : tequila does not make you happy. What it actually does is give you a brief taste of pure, undiluted joy only to cruelly snatch it away from you like a mugger and then push you headfirst into a dark pit of despair, going “HA-ha!” like Nelson out of The Simpsons. I only managed to crawl out of said pit thanks to a constant intake of iced coffee and Hot Six.
Hot Six is the Korean version of Red Bull, and tastes almost exactly the same. It’s an excellent mid-afternoon energy boost for tired teachers, and a good kick-start after a late night. Although it’s now part of our daily vocabulary, it caused me some confusion at first, when I frequently heard friends with a variety of accents apparently announcing their need for some hot sex in the way that you’d remark on the weather, and no one batted an eyelid. Mind you, the ads wouldn’t do much to clear up the confusion for anyone who didn’t know: