I officially quit smoking when I graduated college, as a way to start a new chapter of my life on a healthy foot. This being said, the year I really let my smoking get out of control was when I lived in Korea. Now mind you, I only smoked a few times a day, after my morning coffee, after meals, and before going to sleep. When I went out was when I tended to smoke more, alcohol brings out the chainsmoker in all of us. Today I want to tell you the story of the most uncomfortable I ever was in Korea, and how it resulted in a pack of cigarettes being finished in one evening.
We were going out clubbing on a Friday night. It may have been the first month or two when I was in Korea. My roommate at the time Chaimaa, was Tumblr famous in her own right. There’s a community of girls who write blogs about being foreigners in Korea, and she was one of those girls. In turn, she had been speaking to another such girl who she’d met on Tumblr who she had agreed to meet up with. Let me admit first off, that Chaimaa is notoriously the latest human being in existence. We never ever left on time, and this night we were late and the poor Dutch girl had been waiting outside an exit for quite some time. I can’t remember if it was an more than an hour, but it was at least an hour.
For us being late she was fairly annoyed, but we scooped her up, hopped in a cab and went to the bar we were going to drink at. We got introduced and she seemed cool enough after we relaxed and chatted for a bit. It was Chaimaa, her boyfriend, the Dutch girl, and myself who arrived first. Eventually a guy I knew, and a couple arrived as well. We were having quite a nice time, they were really great at including me and trying to speak English. Things were going well, I had only smoked maybe one cigarette, as you can smoke inside there.
Then our final person arrived, a guy who was fresh out of the army. This guy was pretty attractive, and myself and the Dutch girl being single, it became a bit of a competition for his attention. Or at least I thought. She said something to him in Korean, and all of a sudden he just sort of got up from the table and moved to the bar. Then he went to play darts, and never really came and sat back down. I figured he was nervous and didn’t like speaking English. She went over to try to talk to him, and got politely rejected. Then everything went to shit.
This moment became the beginning of the Dutch girl having a complete meltdown. She got up from the table incoherently spouting nonsense about us hating her and how she had to leave, but she had no money. We were all stunned and didn’t know what to say. We offered to give her money for a cab if she wanted to go home, but she refused, said she’d find her own way and left. At this point in my discomfort I was only on cigarette 4 or 5.
Soon after the couple got up to leave, we said our goodbyes and kept sitting there, getting ready to head out. But soon the boyfriend came back in and said that the Dutch girl was literally sitting outside, which was downstairs, and crying. His girlfriend was comforting her, and had been for almost 30 fucking minutes. Chaimaa went down to try to help, but it really didn’t do much. The Dutch girl cried and kept saying that she had no money and she couldn’t even afford to go drinking or too the club. Which, to me, why even bother agreeing to go out if you have no money? Chaimaa came back up to get myself and the others. She asked the army guy what had happened, apparently she had said, “I love you, do you want to fuck?” Being uncomfortable he’d walked away, and when she’d approached him again, he politely told her he wasn’t interested.
Anyway, we were now all outside and I was on cigarette 10 or 11 as I stood to the side while Chaimaa spoke to the Dutch girl. After almost an hour she finally convinced her to get in the cab and go to the club with us, saying that she’d pay for everything and it was fine. Don’t let a rejection ruin your evening, we’ll dance and have a good time. So we’re riding in the cab, and her wallet breaks and she starts to cry again. Chaimaa empties out her make up bag and gives it to her as a wallet, which only seems to make her more upset. Something about Chaimaa doesn’t even know her, so why is she being nice to her.
After what seems like a year in tense silence, we arrive and get out, only to have the Dutch girl stop on the sidewalk and refuse to move. At this time there was just the four of us, Chaimaa, her boyfriend, the Dutch girl, and myself. The army guy, the couple, and the remaining friend had peaced the fuck out and decided to not deal with this bullshit anymore, which I should have done, because for fucks sake, shut up.
The boyfriend and I just stand to the side, and smoke, and watch as the most unnecessary argument ensued. The Dutch girl just wanted to go home, but didn’t want to take money to go home, so she said she’d just walk around and figure something out. Chaimaa refused to abandon her because she said she loved her and wanted her to be safe, which perhaps a bit of an exaggeration, but true enough. Also, this was not a quite talk, this was both of them belting at the top of their lungs for about 15 more minutes. It was two stubborn girls trying to out stubborn the other. I’m basically out of cigarettes at this point.
Finally, she gets her to come to the club with us. As we walk towards the convenience store, so we could buy more alcohol and cigarettes, because if I don’t get another drink in the next 5 minutes a bitch is about to get slapped. I turn around and the Dutch girl had fucking run away. Like, are you fucking kidding me, childish-ass motherfucker who runs away. Chaimaa wanted to chase after her, and I explained, we had wasted just about our whole evening babying this girl who we’d only just met. Who had in turn yelled at us for being nice, refused to take money to get home safely, and had come out with no money in the first place.
In the end we did go clubbing which helped to dance off the stress, but that was the weirdest nights of my time in Korea. Anytime I finished a cigarette, I felt the need to start another one because I was so uncomfortable, it was the only thing I could do that involved not speaking with the Dutch girl. We learned later that she had recently been dumped and all the couples, the two sets, were making her upset that she as alone.
I’m sorry, but don’t take your depression out on complete strangers who were legitimately trying to be comforting. If you’re at a place emotionally where others happiness is a trigger, maybe don’t put yourself in that situation in the first place. After that I was hesitant to go out with people I didn’t know, and I never smoked that much in a night ever again.