Not Another How-to Post

I was thinking about how to survive in your tiny Busan apartment but then I remembered that many of the youngsters here were surviving in a place just as small with four roommates in college but I am going to write a few pieces of advice anyway if only for the people I know (you know who you are) who could benefit from a bit of motherly nagging.

  • First: Even if you are happy in your squalor, recognize that your inevitable guests will not be. Do you dishes. How to: if you have a one-holer, and you do, fill the sink with suds and dishes. As you wash them, place them on the counter where you just made a mess (the suds will drain a bit but that will help clean the counter). Arrange artfully. After all the dishes are done drain the sink and put the clean dishes back in. Clean the counter. Lay down clean drip towel. Rinse dishes and arrange artfully on drip towel, making sure that there is room for air circulation. Smoke a cigarette and admire.
  • Next: Make your bed. This has two effects. First, it causes you to take a basic step toward housekeeping first thing in the morning and this could accidentally lead to others. Second, it gives you a signal that the bed is for sleeping at night. Not at six in the evening or two in the morning. It is, and should be, a special place of sanctuary. Respect it through the ritual of bed-making.
  • Creature comforts. I am a dude. But even dudes, on solitary nights, might find the presence of candlelight comforting. I am always surprised at how a little soft light and jazz (not smooth jazz, but, like, miles or jarrett) can completely change the atmosphere of a room. If you have the energy, get to a HomePlus and pimp out your bed. Pillows, down, the works. And get some nice towels for god's sake. And a throw blanket to wrap up in. All of this, needless to say, will come in handy when you finally get drunk enough to talk to someone of the opposite sex (or).
  • Laundry. Just do it. And the more often the betterer. And don't throw your dirty underwear in the hall. Get a basket and put the stuff that needs washed in there. The stuff you can wear again fold and put at the bottom of the clean stack (duh!).
  • The Bathroom. The shower stall/crapper/toothery/shavities in these apartments present their own special challenges. Anyone who has been ready to go only to sense that they had a facial issue or hair issue has been faced with the following choice: take off your socks or go fix it at work. Solution: I have super-glued a mirror to the exit. This allows me to take one last look at my beautiful mug before launching it into the world while maintaining moisture-free hosiery. And the combination of rubber gloves, a bucket, water, Dawn detergent, stiff bristly brush, and a post-wash bleach spritzer (I have mine in an old Windex bottle [2 parts water/1 part bleach]) will (probably) keep the fungus at bay, unless you live in Nampodong, in which case you should scrub with an old fishing net and sea water.
  • Beer. A little liquor of an evening can lubricate the proceedings nicely. Just put on some music you favor and tipple. It is fun and makes the room seem comfy yet expansive. Take it from me. And Hite isn't that bad after the first two liters. Never, ever, drink Max or Soju. Especially on a school nite.
  • Cooking. A little bit of creativity and you can make a home cooked meal in that closet of a kitchen. I made a delicious soup this evening by sauteing onions, garlic, celery, carrot, baby mushrooms, and scallions in a quarter stick of Land of Lakes butter, later adding three cups of water, 1.5 cubes of Knorr's chicken bullion, and a half of a smoked chicken. After that had simmered I pulled out the chicken and threw in some egg noodles. I pulled the meat off the chicken carcass and threw it back in (the meat, i mean [the skin and bones and gristle I remained to the freezer for carcass soup later]). A friend brought a baguette (the ones at Paris Baguette don't suck) and we dined like rednecks at grandma's house. And then I did the dishes.
I could go on but I will save some of my more pointed suggestions for the inevitable eventuality that these don't work. Again, you know who you are.