As we leave the cafeteria, the captain says to my coteacher, “The water’s boiling.” He enjoys our coffee time much more than we do. He begins today’s awkward lecture/conversation with the words “Free society,” as he breaks open packets of instant coffee and distributes them into paper cups.
Where could this be going?
Mrs. Jang says “Traditionally, some older man or person of status does not have to make coffee,” as she hovers over the goings on in a half bow position. “This is the first time that a principal makes coffee alone.” With a stress on the word “alone.”
Knowing the sarcasm will be lost, I say, “Ever?” This is the first principal in Korea ever to make his own coffee? I think she means this time in history. And I comment on just how uncomfortable she looks watching him; like she would prefer to snatch it all away and do it herself, but that would even less acceptable.
Then I accidentally nod my way into a frickin’ daily post-lunch yaksok for coffee time. I had misunderstood; I thought he commented that I drink coffee every day, which is so true, not that we should do it together. That’ll teach me to smile and nod.