The other morning, I fell down the stairs in my apartment for the first time.
It wasn’t a pleasant fall either…
I slid down the last three or so stairs landing face down on the floor. I looked up thinking “Jeez, I had better be careful next time.” I then look down to my arm which is throbbing to find the following “rug burn” (I guess the best term I can pin down for now). It didn’t help to add it to the recovering cigarette burn to my arm (no, I’m not joining the ranks of all the smokers here, but in an attempt to pat the back of one of our newer teachers who was smoking (out on the town), I caught the end of his cigarette instead).
Anyway, now writing this, all I can think of the phrase we may use when getting older “I’ve fallen and I can’t get back up!” I hope I never reach this point.
The day starts off that way, but then I go to retrieve my motorcycle left in the Gwangali area of Busan. Over the weekend, it failed to start. I thought it was just another problem added to the long list of problems I’ve had thus far with the 1994 Suzuki. However, one thing I didn’t realize because I’ve based a lot of my assumptions on the bike from what the previous owner told me is that it was burning fuel faster than I estimated. This two wheel beast fails to have a fuel gauge and so I can only estimate how much is left based on what I ride. Long story short, I decide to try to fuel up first before taking it to the shop. After sweating through a 3 kilometer push of the close to 400 lb bike up a hill to the nearest gas station (WHY ARE GAS STATIONS up an incline in the streets!), I find the bike is hungrier with fuel more recently than it has been for the past couple of months. It starts…
Today, I take my La Pavoni espresso machine to a nearby reseller of coffee machines and fine it’s going to cost me 70,000 won to get it serviced. However, after the 2 kilometer walk, they tell me I need to bring the 25 lb electric transformer because they don’t have one. Walking back 2 km’s, I ride it back over with the bike. He tells me the damage after I get back. I basically have no choice because it’s going to cost me a minimum 300,000 won or more just to get a new machine. I may need my friend Amy to get me one of those stove top ones that cost $20-30 bucks as a back up.
I ride out to the eastside today to look for a new place of residence. My previous managers decide that my pleas to stay in Busan don’t deserve any consideration and basically wish me the best. After the 3 years of blood, sweat and tears and me helping them build up a market cap of over $9 million for the company (4 of our best locations in the 15 branch network of Academies were purchased for this amount), these guys tell me that my only choice in staying with the organization is if I go to Daejeon. While I really like the Faculty Manager and believe I may learn a bit from the Branch Manager, they basically offer me a “teaching job” with the possibility of being promoted. WTF? No offense, but that’s what everybody has a chance to do? What’s the difference with me doing it at another city minus the fact I may have a decent hourly rate.
The other problem with the offer to go to the other city is that unless I get more than 120 hours (which they probably won’t provide given they have a surplus of instructors right now), I will fail to make enough to make my highly demanding soon to be x-wife financially satisfied. She’s been telling me I need to pay her at least $2500 or so monthly in order to supply her starbucks sipping and audi driving lifestyle. Yes, part of it is for my kids and why I have less problems sending her this money when I am making my previous salary, but with the new changes of employment, I can’t support it anymore.
Anyway, no more about the job/employment issues…if you’re curious, just let me know. I’ll give you a very detailed update. I’ll probably send you one of the longest written emails I’ve had the pain in drafting to you.
Getting back to my new housing search, but I ride out to the eastside (Gwangali, Haeundae, Suyeong) with few problems. However, on the ride back over the bridge (incline, by the way), the motor starts puttering out. I’m again worrying “OH NO! IT’S ANOTHER PROBLEM…” to then find out after turning it around and getting my bearings straight, it’s probably another fuel issue. I had just fueled it up with 10,000 won and the gauge said it only had 64 kilometers on it — waaaaaaaay below my estimate of 100 kms per 10,000 won.
So, I again perspire my way to pushing it this time 5 kilometers to the nearest gas station and even MORE uphill than on Monday to finally reach an S-Oil gas station. The older attendant comes out and says “I’m sorry sir, but we’re closed. We’re shooting a movie here and so we’ve shut down operations.” I’m thinking “Are you f*cking kidding me?” I’d probably have to push it another 5 kilometers… Fortunately, one of the movie/tv staff says, “Let the guy fill up. You can see he’s sweating and in pain.” After filling it up, it doesn’t start right away, but after another try, it turns out to be another fuel issue.
On top of painfully filling up my tank twice in 3 days and falling down as if I’m 80 years old, I find out my employer (like I said above) basically thinks the work I did for the past 3 years is not worth much in terms of keeping me somewhere in the organization despite what everyone says besides them. I have a 7 page document full of accolades with 4-5 pages from most of my coworkers. They contradict their advice earlier in saying that “I shouldn’t teach and should continue doing management work.” They support that I teach in Daejeon, but not in Busan? It doesn’t make sense. The only thing I can ascertain from the most recent decision is that 2 of the higher ups and 2 guys who own a combined 17% of the company are simply threatened by my presence. One spends all day making spreadsheets and the other surfs the web all day long. They’re just waiting for the delayed payout that was suppose to happen on July 15th, but thanks to the swine flu, it is up in the air when it will be paid out.