I work during the week and forget about work during the weekends. I am currently working the sort of job that allows, and, one might contend requires, this sort of mentality. Preparation time for my classes is built into my daily schedule. I am required to be at work from noon until 7:45pm, and from noon until 2:20pm I have nothing asked of me except "to prepare." (I have no personal computer and PC Bangs get expensive so this blog is a consequence of "preparation time.") I drive this point home because it means that there is no outside preparation required. Damian enjoyed the teaching experience here in Seoul but he always said that he would totally forget about work until Monday morning. I do the same; it is more or less a psychological, protective mechanism. Block out the reoccurring bad so its only a new bad each time and not worse with each stinging badness. That is a little overboard but I must admit there are times it feels like that.
So, the weekends are for relaxation and what not. The past how-ever-long its been I have spent the majority of my weekend time with my girlfriend. This weekend in particular we went to COEX mall on subway line #2 near Kangnam in the Southeastern district of Seoul. I had been here once before, but just to meet friends and see a movie. I did not experience the entirety of this underground mall. This place is massive. I would venture to guess that it is nearly the size of the Mall of America in Minneapolis/St. Paul but it is all on one plane, underground. And it only has one entrance I believe so a lot of walking is involved to get in and out of this place. There are multiple food courts, gazillions of stores, coffee shops, ice cream parlours, a movie theater and whatever else is in a capitalist gluttony such as this, oh and, of course, there is an arcade.
I'm not so keen on the shopping side of things, while Jay very much is. I was always on the look out for diversions that would entertain myself. The arcade was just this sort of place. We played nearly half the games in the place, moving from one to the next, that is until I saw the soccer game console. It was like a barrier of sports games backed up to each other. You could sit down and play the game but if someone sat down on the other side and wanted to play soccer too they could either play by themselves, leaving you to the pleasure of your game, or they could chose to square off against you.
I put in my money and began playing. This was the first time I have ever played this particular Korean soccer arcade game so I was having a little difficulty getting the damn Brazilian players to do what I thought they should be doing. Instructions were in Korean and I, of course, did not think to read the instructions prior to use- and it was only after the game had commenced that I began to peruse the Korean script and ask my girlfriend about the buttons. She was taking pictures and was not the least bit interested in this soccer game so I was very much on my own. I would try to pass and the my defender would rip a shot into the stands; I would try to finish a cross and my player would turn and pass the ball to their midfielder, and so it went.
Enter a challenger from the opposite side of the console. I am surprised and attempt to lean over to see who would be so bold; I barely catch a glimpse of a young Korean guy with his girlfriend. I promptly sit back down and prepare. Brazil vs. Korea.
Here is a photo of me seconds prior to the kickoff whistle. Its a "Oh, no you just didn't!!!" sort of photograph. I think I am so good. "What pompous fool thinks he can take this soccer fiend down," I think to myself. "Boy is he in for it! On to victory!"
"Challenge me!? You must be crazy."I play real soccer once a weekend at the least. I do a little training during the week- not to be better on the next weekend but to prevent myself from injuring my aging body- so its not like these weekend games are my only outlet for exercise. But they are my only outlet for other things like frustration and a competition. Its not that I build up a massive amount of frustration during the week. I am, for the most part, a pretty laid back guy. Everybody gets stressed though and my share of it usually dissipates rapidly and without consequence. But on the soccer field I find myself doing a lot of yelling, some could be construed as "constructive criticism" while the rest of it is very much so, non-constructive. But, competition. I am very competitive and I have played soccer a long time. Games get intense and I like winning these games. Anyway, what the hell am I saying. I am getting to the point: I didn't have a "real" soccer game so my normal dose of competitiveness and frustration went into this console game. It is important to note that when a person like me plays a video game, that is a person who missed his video game education almost entirely, I don't really think of it as a video game. It is more like I am projecting myself into what I see. And as I have no serious experience with video games and their controls, there exists this unbridgeable gap between what is happening in the video game and what is happening in my head. It is like all of these signals are firing in my head, "pass the ball to the outside", "make that diagonal run through the defense", "track back and help on defense", "shoot the ball now", "pass the ball to the open player", etc. Now all of these signals are sent to my hands who read the memos and look at each other and say, "what the hell does he expect us to do about this!? As if we have any idea what this joystick and what that greasy, multicolored pad of buttons does! Jeez..."
Hunched over, absorbed in battle, my palms rapidly slam against console.
Brazil vs. Korea
(Before Brazil suffered a humiliating, inexplicable defeat...)
I think I still have a chance. Boy, do I feel silly now.
Oohp. He's better than I thought.
I was too humbled and distraught to pose for a post game photograph. Instead, I had posted a picture taken of Jay after the video game resolved itself. She was, after all, the photographer. But, she did not approve of that picture and told me to chose another or else. So, I found another photo.
The COEX Battle Photographer.