Friday, August 29, 2008

Korean Garage Sale-ing

In the USA, when we have old junk that we don't want, we slap price tags on it and have a garage sale. People come from all over and give us money for it, which makes both parties happy. In addition to the financial gain, we also get to enjoy sitting outdoors in a plastic chair and meeting some of our frequently-amusing fellow Americans.

Koreans have a different method for cleaning things out. They just haul them out to the curb and let them sit amongst the special colored trash bags (read an earlier post for the trash bag story). You can find all sorts of treasures, from rabbit cages, to chairs, to bookcases, to full-size sofas, to baskets, to battered books. Normally I am not enticed by the junk amongst the trash, but yesterday was a different matter. Yesterday I went "Korean garage sale-ing."

I noticed that a neighbor had thrown out a perfectly good TV cabinet with only one small dent. Since the price was right (free!) I decided to claim it. It isn't a big cabinet; it's one of the ones that sits under a television set, but boy was that thing a bear to lug up four flights of steps! I thought for sure I was going to drop it at one point. Resisting the urge to practice some of the marvelous swearing I've heard from some of the other foreigners, I took a rest on the third floor and somehow made it to my front door. Getting it in the door was pretty easy.

Then, I learned that there was another problem. There is no way on God's green earth that I can lift my TV and move it from its current dinky cabinet to this nicer cabinet. So, after a few fruitless attempts and the tragic smashing of my left index finger, I decided to stick my new cabinet next to my nightstand and just use it as a storage cabinet. It may look weird, but it'll sure be convenient.

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"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"