Sunday, October 31, 2004

Too Much Chaff

Can you blame me? Actually you can, the vanilla was not that good. The one blob of chocolate was eagerly seized upon. From TGI's we went to Corneli's apartment, and while Minjung swooned, the rest of us gaped at the huge blank stare we were getting from the 27 inch television.

From there we headed to an excellent spot to watch buses come and go. It's not an easy thing catching a bus. Minjung missed the first two, but was lucky the third time. Charles left shortly afterward, and then we went to JJ Mahoneys. JJ's was not only dead, but the beer tasted like beer tastes when you get up the next morning after a party, and before you clean up your place you take a sip of a beer you remember putting on the top of the refrigerator. So we sent it back. There were just three of us now and we just talked about mutual acquaintances, Sinchon as a good place to go to... I don't remember much more than that. I felt terribly bloated from the meal. And a cold lethargy was creeping up on me.

We walked back past the Juyeop subway (one of the locations in the Lost Seoul Derangio short, and also one of the spots where we actually saw them shooting one Sunday afternoon). Valentin left, but before he did we agreed, that since we both have not much time left in Korea, that we should up the fun ante before we're done here.
I walked Corneli home. Sadly her birthday was over and the reality of being 31 was really hitting home. Fortunately a birthday card I emailed using Birthday Alarm hit her home, and hit the mark too. Unfortunately, another Birthday Alarm arrived with it, from New Zealand I think, and the sender had used the same card, the same template, as I did. Bummer.

So the last of the birthday cards were read. The gifts were all unwrapped. It was long past the stroke of midnight. No longer being November 30, it was no longer a special day, she was no longer special or so she may have thought. She reached for the Pinotage - but I am not sure if it brought out the best of us.

She mentioned that she disagreed with what someone said that the Jewish people aren't a race.
A local geographic or global human population distinguished as a more or less distinct group by genetically transmitted physical characteristics.
A group of people united or classified together on the basis of common history, nationality, or geographic distribution: the German race.
A genealogical line; a lineage.
Humans considered as a group.
An interbreeding, usually geographically isolated population of organisms differing from other populations of the same species in the frequency of hereditary traits. A race that has been given formal taxonomic recognition is known as a subspecies.
A breed or strain, as of domestic animals.
A distinguishing or characteristic quality, such as the flavor of a wine.

The wine bit is stretching things a bit far on the race issue I'd say.

I don't know why we were talking about Jews. Maybe because we were talking about the Passion of the Christ. Maybe because I said that Jewish people take care of their own, and don't really care about us gentiles, but that attitude of not caring about others leads to people not caring about you on the same basis - because you are different. And an us/them mentality. More pertinently, Charles said that he thought the Koreans are quite a lot like that, and they are. Foreigners are aliens here. A novelty and an entertainment, but complete outsiders. This has led, we decided over dinner, in its harshest form, to the North/South Korea Polarity. And it keeps bringing up the question, if you are interested in finding solutions for divided countires, do you care about someone other than yourself?

Do you care about the other person?

Do you care that someone's stepmother has cancer?

Does the average American really care about the average Iraqi? If so then does he also care about the average guy in Zimbabwe, because believe me Zimbabwe has its problems, Zimbabwe has its dictator. He's a guy called Bob, and Bob is a pretty bad granddad. And that's just Zimbabwe.
I brought up the sick mother in law again. Was I supposed to care about her? It sounds harsh, I explained, but do you care about the shopkeeper on the corner? Do you care that 50 000 people in Sudan died today? If you do then you'll probably care that Ethiopia is heading for another gutwrenching famine, they have missed four consequetive rainy seasons. The answer is I should care. We should all care, but do we?

Because really, saying you care, saying you really care means that you care enough to get yourself to do something. I don't know to what extent caring intellectually is caring. Do you think the German population during World War II really cared what was happening inside their borders to 6 million people?
So I think what I was really saying is, did a guy from New Zealand, that once worked around here, did his stepmother ever care about me? As I say, the wine didn't bring out the best in me.

There was another twist, just as the day was being finally put to bed. Corneli also had something to say. To say she was distressed is putting it a bit mildly.
I got on my bicycle at 4am and wondered why it is that emails can lead to so much destructive, selfdefeating behaviour.
Sometimes the chaff overwhelms the wheat. Wheat and Chaff (Is. 11:1-10; Rom. 15:4-13; Matt. 3:1-12) 'We are both wheat and chaff, and the chaff must be burned away’. I think this has been used alot by rascist people to rationalise their
hatred and intentions of destruction for other slightly different human beings.

There's not much wheat, tonight, my dear, and to me wheat means the whole grain goodness of life. It is futile to dwell on why you don't care about stepmothers with cancer. It is that sort of gnawing on the bone useless thinking, directed nowhere, that takes you nowhere. This is what I mean when I say I need to reEducate myself mentally. Thinking needs to be Wholewheat, All Wheat. Life is Be, Do, Have. Be is thinking, which leads to feelings, and then what we do. Everything you do, after all, Maximus, echoes in eternity. Focus then needs to be on the good things you can do, and the good things you do care about. Focus on the wheat and you will have wheat, and not be overwhelmed by the chaff. I cycled home under a big brown harvesty moon last night. And I wondered, as you will in a moment, what all this had to do with chocolate ice cream.
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Anonymous said...

Thanks to a special friend , contributing to a special day and making it even more special. It is true what our friend Nick says about me being distressed...maybe not without reason or maybe without reasoning. Must be the 31 that's getting to me in more than one way or perhaps the Pinotage. True what he says about the Chaff being too much sometimes, but hopefully when the chaff is being blown away , we can see the wholeness of the wheat again and remember the importance of good friends that doesn't come along everyday. Hope I am forgiven for being poluted with too much chaff. Thanks anyway for making my day special Nick

Nick said...

All is forgiven. I hope you are feeling better.