What is a drunk Korean doctor’s wife doing in my bed?

No, the answer isn’tThe backstroke becauseThat is the correct response to the query, “Waiter, what is this fly doing in my soup?”

The simple answer is that she, a Korean stay-home mother married to a pediatrician, is asleep.

The more detailed answer is – perhaps – more interesting, but at a minimum more thought provoking and complex.

Chance says why she’s female; genetics explain why she’s Korean. Some combination of her upbringing in an elite well-to-do family, intelligence, charm and natural beauty help explain why she’s married to a successful doctor.

Their social status in the upper class of Korean society is the reason she’s a stay-at-home mother; a factor helped by their mutual fertility (a point which recent experiences show should never be taken for granted).

Now, why is she drunk and why is she in my bed? I’ll first answer the latter of the two; with an apology for a Clintonesque reach in my choice of pronouns. The first person possessive was intentionally used in an attempted switch and bait tactic to gather interest, and although it is strictly true in that the bed is mine in that I purchased and maintain it, it is not the bed I share with my wife.

She is in our house, along with her husband, also drunk and asleep, and young children, who are not drunk but asleep, because she was friends with my wife in Taipei as classmate in college.

The soft-spoken husband is popular with his young patients, and his practice has grown beyond the ability of a sole person to handle. They are doing well, and will be moving into a larger home next year.

Tonight, they are drunk because they are our friends in our house and friends get drunk in this part of the world.

But if it were a case of occasional drinking then this possibly sad, possibly tragic tale would not be written. Much of what I think is pure speculation since they have only limited English and many details are translated from Korean into Chinese, passed from the wife to mine and then into Japanese for me.

We stayed at their house in Seoul, and she drank every night. When we went out for sushi, and when it was time to go she drank the last of the glass quickly, to not waste a drop. She’s more than buzzed and not falling down, she is drinking with a purpose.

She gives off vibes that there is something wrong. She has no complaints about her husband, but he is traditional – he works hard to support the family but his work is done the moment he opens his front door. During his visit here, it amazed him that a male in a traditional role in business can and does cook, as well as other housework.

Children are the domain of the mother and his 11-year-old son is rebellious of the apparent favoritism toward the sever-year-old girl. The son would be quite a handful for anyone and with no support from her husband, the wife seems to be lost at times.

My wife asked me why I was so curious about their lives, but I couldn’t answer. Not because I don’t know why but because I can’t tell her.

It’s the look. The look of longing on her face. The look I’ve seen in thousands of faces in scores of bars in dozens of cities in a fistful of countries. The look of wanting someone to take them away from their pain, if only for a night.

I hope I’m wrong and that I’m misread or over-read. I hope that her nightly drinking is not a mask for pain and that I’ve just seen the worst and not the average.

Unlike too many others, she will sip alone and won’t wind up drunk in someone else’s bed, but it’s still sad.

Damn, TokyoPlayer. Everytime I read something of yours, it brings tears to my eyes.

I’ve been on vacation this weekend, so I missed this one when my email subscription went out. Thread subscribtion? Oh no no no. I have subscribed to user TokyoPlayer. Didn’t know you could do that did you? A $10 bribe to** jdavis *and there’s plenty one can accomplish.

Ah yes, “the look”. I’ve seen it in bars, I’ve seen it on the streets, and I’ve seen it in the mirror. Life can be terrible, exciting, wonderful, scary and weary. It’s amazing that we do more than simply complain.

I’ve told stories, and TP has told even many more. Just one more to the collection.

  • Yes, of course, I’m being facetious.

How sad.