I’m over by the station when I see this white guy come out of the 7-Eleven there and I think, who’s this guy, I’m the white guy in this town, not him, I’m the special one, I was here first, who’s he think he is, he probably can’t even speak Korean.
But then I see him look at me, and I know he thinks we’ve made some kind of connection – we’re white guys in a town of little yellow people or something, we’re bound by that fact – even if I don’t know him from Adam, and would never talk to him back home, never mind get on with him.
I think, I don’t want to be there. I don’t want to know he even exists, but I can’t just disappear or run away – he’ll think I’m mad or something – so I decide to act like he’s just some normal guy, the same as all the Koreans around us and in the town, and I begin to head towards the 7-Eleven as if I was going that way – I wasn’t – and it’s the most natural thing in the world.
I think, it’s the same as home. No. It is home. I am home. I’ve been here for over three years. I know these streets. They’re as much a part of me as anywhere else I’ve lived, and he’s just someone else, not an aberration, the first white man I’ve seen here in ages, and I’m determined to treat him as such. I don’t need to acknowledge him. I wouldn’t acknowledge a local or him either, if we were back home, not every time anyway, so there’s no reason to do so now.
But as I get closer I realise I can’t. He is an aberration. He is different. We’re both white men and we’re both abroad – we’re not from here, but we know what it’s like. We’ve got shared experiences. We should get on. And before I can stop myself I feel my head nodding and he’s nodding too, and we’re one, and I hate him for making me do it, and hate myself for acknowledging his special-ness, even though he’s not special, for fuck’s sake, he’s not special at all.