Excuse me, Crotch-Man...

Before I went to Korea, I learned some Korean just by driving to work every day, thanks to a cd from my local library. The problem with other languages is that they're not English. My brain speaks English, so if you try to give it something else, it only hears English. So while I was supposedly learning how to communicate in Korea, I just learned how to be rude in my own culture.

I would be driving along Broad Street in Richmond because that's the only way I don't get lost, with my windows down because I had no A/C, and the volume way up so I could really hear the pronunciation. The lesson was very interactive, so I stopped at the stoplight, studiously repeating "crotch-man!" over and over, trying to remember its conjunctive properties and forget the image of some kind of porno superhero that kept popping up in my mind instead. After basic vocabulary was covered, the lesson progressed in a staged conversation between the Pimmsleur guy and myself, in a mix of English and Korean. So when Mr. Pimmsleur as the Cab Driver asked me, "Where do you want to go?" I obediently responded what I'm sure sounded to everyone in the lanes next to me like, "Hotel, asshole!" And "yo" finished every sentence, for politeness.

Ironically, my Korean friends later told me that the cd Korean was way too polite in their culture. Go figure.

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