Week 14, Wednesday

This morning after a restless night and sudden back crick I threw on my giant puffer jacket and face mask and boarded the bus. A young man with a neck tattoo and cheekbones kept glancing at me from two seats away then waved in the corner of my eye. I turned slightly and did a small head bow then went back to blinking away my sleep deprivation. He typed away on his phone in what I like to assume was an English dictionary.

Casually he “dropped” a business card on the seat between us which I initially ignored but then thought, let’s see where this takes us.

I pointed and gestured “you dropped this”. He pretended it was an accident then picked it up with an air of “oh how clumsy of me”. But a moment later he took this as an in to turn to me and ask in loud English if I know karaoke rooms.

I responded in Korean which he took as a cue to vault himself into the seat next to me and explain in English that he’s a singer at a karaoke room and if I ever needed a large room I should contact him. He handed over the business card which had his contact for the most suspiciously named “Private Chungdam”. Then he waved a little goodbye and got off at one of the apartment complexes.

I still don’t know if he was hitting on me, drumming up business, or hiring “hostesses”. This would not be the first time someone has tried to recruit me for sex work.

However, I’m happy to say that the decidedly rushed return home was incident free: a happy little hello from Nick Jr at the ddeokbokki stand and an elderly hiking couple sitting arm in arm on the train cleansed my soul.

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