Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Chicken and the Mayor

Someday I will write a children's book titled that, The Chicken and the Mayor, but for now it's just an odd blog about the odd things I saw today.

Today, in downtown Seoul, I saw a man chasing a chicken. In other parts of Korea this not an odd occurrence, but I live in a part of Korea that is comparable to Manhattan in New York. Fowl on the loose is not a common sight. I've never even seen a live chicken in this area so naturally I freaked out. Those of you who know me also know I'm not the biggest fan of chickens ever since I was viciously and humiliatingly attacked by a rooster when I was four. I saw this chicken running around off his leash and thought, "Oh god, here we go again. And this time in public."

However, the chicken was more freaked out than I was. The chicken was loose in an area surrounded by sea food restaurants. Korean restaurant owners advertise their ocean fare by setting up aquariums outside, displaying all the different oceanic delicacies. I can only imagine the chicken seeing this, wondering what the hell was in store for him, and deciding to get the hell out of there.

Then there was the guy chasing the chicken. I believe he had just been on a scooter as he was wearing a motorcycle helmet. The helmet only added to this folly as the man looked like a big a weenie and professional chicken chaser all at the same time. He did chase the chicken into on coming traffic where I was sure that the bird was going to get smeared. I'll admit, I let out a small "eek!" to the puzzlement of Koreans walking by. They looked at me like "What? It's just a chicken." Yes, I felt sorry for the chicken; the guy chasing the chicken; me, the guy watching the chicken. I left without really knowing how it all ended.

But that's okay because I'm somebody special, chickens need not concern me. Two Wednesday's from now, I'm going to have lunch with the mayor of Seoul. He called me up, asked my advice on some policy issues, and then scheduled a get together. Actually, I was informed by my employer that the mayor wants have lunch with all the foreign English teachers from Gangnam public schools. I think this is little more than a photo op to boost the international image of Seoul. I'm grateful, really...well, not really. For one, my classes will be behind as next week they have official school tests and then the Wednesday after that I have to leave for this lunch thing. Isn't it a little odd that the teachers leave school and miss classes for a lunch to tout how great the school system and English education is?

Still, I penciled in my scheduler today: "Lunch with mayor," for Wednesday December the 3rd. As a kid, it's something you think you will write all the time on the to-do-list along with "court at 3" and "fix the Bat-signal". Then you kind of forget about that stuff, but when you least expect it, Bam! there it is, "lunch with the mayor." Except the mayor takes you to a sea food restaurant and you are allergic to seafood, and you are with fifty other people, and the mayor doesn't speak English. Not always as I had planned, but soon I will be able to cross one more thing off the list, one more thing on the long list to immortality.

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