Two of my students made startled faces around eating their melon popsicles when they stopped to say hello as I was about to go upstairs and investigate the Coffee Window.
They pointed up, “다방? Coffee?”
My coteacher had told me that once upon a time, dabang was where couples went if they needed to have a conversation, so I wondered if I was implying something similar to if I had said I was going to DVDbang. I told them I liked to have coffee, which they pretended to accept.
There was, in fact, no one under 40 in Coffee Window and when I asked if there was a menu the lady said “Menu? Coffee.” And because my ordering policy in low English situations is “Yes” I ended up with green tea even though I am fairly certain I said yes to “Iced Coffee?” before I said yes to “녹자?” which I was thinking meant “Sugar?” even though I should remember that cha is tea in Korean just like it is tea in Bengali. I don’t actually think there is anyone in Hallim who has graduated from high school and is under 30. So who goes to DVDbang? Maybe there isn’t one.
The proprietoress and company were all playing cards in the corner by the air conditioner and there was one other man sleeping across a booth with his hand on his forehead and newspapers on his table. When he awoke he squinted very intently in my direction. Being the only white person in town is, well, I don’t know what adjective I want to fill in there. Either no one knows what to do with me or they want to talk to me. Talk meaning fire off every greeting you can say in English on your way home from high school. “Hello, nice to meet you, have a nice day!”