The Korean Embassy is normally a calm place (as that apparently placid picture to the left demonstrates). The BKF and JAE attend to common household chores whilst also making a meagre living selling jujubes and crude handmade crafts to soldiers. The Great Unifier is still far to young to marshal his powers and make us all his pawns in his single-minded drive to reunify Korea. At this point he can’t even control his bodily functions, so all is pacific. I might also note that he is, so far, not a complainer of any sort and that’s just the kind of kid I want for my Godson.
So I drive down on a Friday. My relentless drive for success at work (for I am steely-eyed, slightly graying at the temples, rugged-chinned and intense) means that I have maxed out my vacation time. So I was able to take Friday as a vacation day and drive down to the embassy.
There is something very nice about bailing on work and taking a day off to drive somewhere. I was even unfazed by the fact that the splendid array of rock-songs-from-wayback-then that I heard on the way down, included the back-to-back combo (on different stations to boot) of “Time” by Pink Floyd and “Running On Empty” by Jacksone Browne. This is a terrifying combination of songs about age and lack of meaning for a man of 32 years old, much less for 41 year old (muscular and attractive though I am), but ruggedly handsome survivor such as myself.
Still, I made it down and much of the day was quotidian, even by cross cultural standards. The rice and beer of arrival, the telly-vision. and the attack of the killer bees.
The BKF is uncholeric by nature, and when he wandered back (from a bathroom break) to Mission Impossible playing in the living room he was preternaturally composed when he said… ‘AAAAAAIIIIIIIIIEEEE3EGHGHHH! THE BEES HAVE COME FOR MY CHILD!!!!”
Well, or asked “how do you tell if bees are trying to start a hive?”
As it turns out, I have some knowledge of this. When I was but a young sprout, a cluster of bees looking for a new place to chill came swinging through my elementary school playgound. This was at lunch so all the kiddies, young (me) and secretly homicidal (my sister) were watching. The hive was relatively spread out and I, and some other kids, took too running through it. We got through so fast no bee had a chance to sting us.
Except I was a stinking hippie. With long, flowing, honeyed locks. Filthy and down to my ass. My little statement of rebellion against the man managed to catch a bee.
Like the cheese-eating surrenduuurrrr(!) monkey I was, I ran whimpering out of the swarm. Towards my sister, hollering, “get it out of my head!”
To this day I’m not certain if my BS was trying to kill the bee, or the voices she surely believed I was in thrall to (Zepplin, man!).
But, responding to either call, she took the plastic pony she had at hand, and beat my head (not using the body of the horse, rather using the spiv-sharp front hoof of the thing) until no bees could possibly still be alive, and the buzzing in my head could not possibly recede.
Really, it IS all about family.
Once I was out of the hospital I went to my 5th grade teacher who explained that bees, sometimes, would move nests and it would be in a big old fly-by.
Which, after that long and completely supernumerary digression, is what these bees were doing.
BKF is un-Korean in some ways. He is the guy who introduced me to the “Why The Fuck” theory of Korean response to a problem. This is the reverse of the Mexican versions which means, ‘Why the fuck fix it?” To Koreans the question is “Why the fuck not fix it?” And like Mexico, Korea has plenty of workers. Unlike Mexico, their workers. Er…. Work…
But BKF was unimpressed, or nonplussed by the attack… he tried to figure out who you might call to respond to such and insect attack.
But JAE’s old man was entirely bored.
So that little bee problem you see above (First pic is long shot; second is where something with a bolt was pulled off the wall creating the hole; third a picture is of the hole crawling with the evil, stinking (Japanese or American, depending upon you Korean orientation) bugs that was gonna have to be fixed!
Take it as a parody, or take is as proof of the efficacy of the Korean “WTF” theory, but the pictures you see here document the short but deadly war on the bees.
The old man first had to gird his loins. In this case he donned a heavy coat, a mesh bag for holding vegetables, a plastic bag, and some dishwashing gloves which were pulled on outside of the arms of the coat. This process took about 20 minutes and the entire nuclear family was involved in it. It was something very Korean, and something I can’t quite categorize other than to say it was amusing to watch but something deadly serious for the old man..
Then came the machines of war. The old man marched off to battle with two cans of bug spray, stick, a tube of joint-compound, and an old table. The boys brought the table round and it was on.
The attack was frontal. Two handed spraying of the hole with the contents of the two spray cans (which certainly hadn’t been full to begin with, but the bug spray cascaded down the side of the house like a waterfall. When the cans began to run out of propellant, the first work was done and you could watch bees fly away from the wall in uncertain spirals, and then at a certain point fall out of the air. So much spray had been applied that I’m certain several of the bees died of drowning long before their central nervous systems began to fire uncontrollably. One of those pictures over there is of Jong Qu nervously watching this part of the spectacle.
Finally, came the salting of the earth. The joint compound and a stick turned the hole in the wall into an Apiary Cask of Amontillado. There were only two kinds of bees, the ones trapped inside the wall, and the ones trapped outside the wall.
After a short interregnum in which scairt and lost bees beat about the sealed wall, all was calm.
Until the ghosts of the bees trapped within the walls rise from their mortal graves, enter the home through the power outlets, heating vents, cooling system, and around the light fixtures.
Then they will kill and kill AGAIN!
And just because, a relatively high-res picture of the lovely infant himself..