Irreverent rants, hungover musings, too much salt...

Saturday, August 21, 2004


It was my birthday the other day. Apparently. I didn't know this at the time, I always thought that my birthday was in late February just like it has been every year since I was born. Apparently I was wrong.

I was in a restaurant that I frequent often with two friends, Won and Ryan. The woman who runs the restaurant is very friendly and always chats away with us, supplying free extras and even bags of ice that she stuffs down the back of your shirt when you least expect it. My friend Won is from Seoul and for some unknown reason decides to tell her it is my birthday.

She gets very excited even though I do my best to deny it, she literally runs off out the door and down the street. I call Won a bastard and a few other names while Ryan pisses himself laughing, as we watch the ajumma go hurtling back the other way past the restaurant.

Three minutes later she comes huffing and puffing her way back, red-faced and proudly clutching a box of 'choco-pies' (a revolting marshmallow biscuit) and a bottle of Korean champagne.

Oh shit.

For those of you who are unaware of the traditional Korean birthday cheap shitty, sugary, sparkling wine celebratory method, read on.

This lovely lady proceeds to make a cake out of the choco-pies by stacking them on top of each other and inserting 27 matches to use as candles. Everyone sings 'Seng il chuka hamneeda' and I brace myself for the inevitable. The ajumma shakes up the bottle of wine and tries to force the cork out to no avail. I offer to do it for her, sensing an opportunity to turn the tables on my bastard friends, but she is on to me, and is having none of it.

A man in his 40s at the next table offers his services, stands up with the wine, shakes it some more then carefully asks whose birthday it is... Again, I try to fend it off saying it is actually Ryan's birthday, but no one will believe me. I try again, claiming my clothes are new... He pops the cork and sprays the horrible sugar-water all over me, as I try to wrench the bottle away in order to get Won and Ryan. They, however, have done acrobatic maneuvers out the door to avoid getting wet and are so laughing so hard they can't stand up straight.

I then have to go and drink soju with the guys at the next table as they toast my birthday, leaving me suitably hammered when we finally leave. Won and Ryan are still laughing as we walk down the street, my clothes sticking to my skin and reeking of stale wine that smells like sour grapes shat out of a leprous cat.