Yeah, I’m a Creep and I’m a Weirdo, But I Do Belong Here

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Last Saturday, I met some friends up in Hongdae, the hip spot in Seoul where there’s lots of nightlife.  At around one in the morning, the girls wanted to go dancing.  The guys weren’t really all that interested in this, but like most guys do, we decided to follow along with what the girls wanted.  No one had a particular place in mind, and so we ended up stumbling into a joint called Club Naked.  I paid the $10 cover and descended the steps into my own personal hell.

Since it was Saturday, Club Naked was packed.  The place was filled with horny American military guys standing around, leering at everyone, and I felt sketched out.  There was more sexual frustration in that club than there is in most prisons.  In the bathroom, two guys got into a heated argument over which one was had the rights to a certain girl.  I told myself that once I left the restroom I would aggressively avoid any females; I’m smart enough to know that if I tried to talk to one, the chances of me getting my ass kicked would far exceed any chances of me getting a phone number (even a fake one).

We’d been there about twenty minutes.  My friends and I stood in a circle by the bathrooms.  No one was dancing and everyone looked miserable, weighed down by the overwhelming feeling that we were surrounded by people in serious heat.  I didn’t want to ruin the time, and so I tried my best to act like I was having a blast.  Pushing embarrassment aside, I moved my hips and sang along with the music blaring from the speakers: “Teach me how to dougie teach me teach me how to dougie!”

I suddenly had the feeling that I wouldn’t have to hit on someone’s chick to get my ass kicked.

Finally one of the girls spoke up.  “I want to leave,” she said.  “We don’t belong here.”  Truer words have never been spoken.  We absolutely didn’t belong in Club Naked.  Everyone nodded in agreement, put on their coats, and seconds later our posse was out the door.

But what she said got me thinking.  “We don’t belong here.”  I get that feeling a lot.  Being at certain locations, I feel like I’ve just walked into the middle of a foreign movie that doesn’t have any subtitles.  Lost and confused.  That’s life, though, and I’m cool with being an outsider occasionally.  It just means that I’m going to all the wrong places.  Where then, I’ve been asking myself lately, are the places where I do belong?  Where I’m comfortable and happy and perfectly at home?  I think everyone should have a short list of places where they connect with the world and here, after much thought, is mine:

Merry-Go-Round: That’s right, a merry-go-round.  I feel safe and content while going around in a circle on an old wooden horse.  Nothing soothes this guy’s soul like some looped circus music and a little simulated galloping.

Minor League Baseball Game: The half-empty stadium.  The cheap beer.  The players in their 30s.  Minor League baseball games are relaxing and laid back.  And I want to be there…which is more than most of the players can say.

Huey Lewis and the News Concert: When I was a kid, my neighbor scored some tickets to a Huey Lewis and the News concert and I remember being seriously blown away by this.  “THE Huey Lewis and the News?” I thought, my young mind reeling.  Twenty years later I finally got my chance to see the band responsible for Sports in concert myself.  It was a joyous experience.  There aren’t any hipster posers at a Huey Lewis show.  Seeing Huey Lewis doesn’t up anyone’s cool cred.  If I had a time machine (a la Back to the Future, a movie featuring the music of the News), I would go back in time to Huey’s performance of “Do You Believe In Love” that night…and maybe to the Renaissance too because that might be interesting as well.

Dive Bar on a Sunday: Not a Friday or Saturday.  Too busy.  Sunday is when the real drinkers take their seats.  Or, more accurately, fall off their seats.

Spencer Gifts: I love this store.  What exactly do they sell at Spencer’s?  Rock band posters, gag birthday cards, whoopee cushions and tons of funny sex stuff – is this what Spencer, the booming entrepreneur that he was, based his business around?  Spencer must’ve been an easily amused moron, and thank God for that!  I’ve wasted countless hours of my life enjoying the comedy oasis that is Spencer Gifts and I have no regrets (nor do I think I’ve ever actually purchased anything).

Pet Store: You don’t need to have a pet to enjoy the pet store.  Especially the mall pet store, where it’s always a thrill visiting the depressed little puppies in their cages (just don’t try to slip them Prozac – that’s frowned upon).  The mall pet store is like an orphanage for animals: there’s one bird that doesn’t make any noises, some fish, and maybe a couple chinchillas that are allowed to walk around the floor in a small enclosed circle with a 5 inch diameter.  Still, the pet store is the place for me.  It’s a wondrous world all to its own, where a zoo and Oliver Twist come seamlessly together.

The Bathroom in my Apartment: No explanation needed.  Or wanted.

Bam! – a fine list of places where I absolutely do belong.  See, there’s a place for all of us in this world.  So the next time you feel like you don’t belong, you can always join me at Spencer Gifts, where we can share a sense of inner and outer harmony while looking at the lava lamps.

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47 thoughts on “Yeah, I’m a Creep and I’m a Weirdo, But I Do Belong Here

  1. Lol! This is too funny. I really enjoyed your story here. I can’t stand the bars … They really are just a place for raging horomones. Haha.

    The funniest thing is that I love ALL the places that you listed (minus the second and third). Spencers … Like, come on! Who doesn’t love that place.

    Tomorrow I am going to spend my 28th birthday at Science World playing with GIANT legos and drinking beer because the other alternative is the bar. Who’d wanna go there when they could go play with science stuff??

    Fun read!

    Anisa

    • Anisa, you rock! Science World sounds amazing. Somehow it never occurred to me that drinking beer and playing with legos could be combined. And GIANT legos no less. I’m simultaneously happy for you and very, very jealous.

      Thanks so much for the comment and the compliment. Have a great birthday tomorrow! : )

  2. I’ve been feeling out of place at clubs for what seems like forever. And for the longest time, I even felt out of place in Singapore, my country of birth and current home. If you think the Koreans are looking at you funny because you’re caucasian, you should see the kind of reactions I get when locals find out that I speak with an Aussie/American accent and hardly speak a word of Chinese.

    And then I’ll be walking around with my wife, and she’ll point out places that have a childhood significance to her, and bump into random friends in the street. I don’t get that at all.

    So you know where I feel safe and comfortable? When I’m plugged into 90’s music, retro videogames and classic Arnie movies… because they remind me of high school – which strangely enough was a place where I felt like I belonged without being alienated.

    • Yeah, for some reason, I think a lot of people feel comfortable in the past, regardless of whether they fit in then or not. I’m totally with you on all the things you mentioned – I would swing further back to the 80s though. Give me a Steve Martin movie, a Huey Lewis album, and re-runs of Perfect Strangers and I’m very happy. And Arnie too…especially Commando. “Let off some steam, Bennett!”

  3. judithsmarkworld

    I think we feel out of place, when we try to force ourselves to do something that doesn’t represent us. Example go to the mall on a Sunday afternoon when you don’t really wanna just to please your sister…. Lol. I used to feel a lot out of place, but now that my taste has changed, I am more open to new experiences. But at the same time, I have learned to listen to “me” so that when it doesn’t feel right somewhere, I don’t stay. But I also have a list of places I’ve always belonged. Great story as usual!

      • Haha – of course not. You can never overdo it. Judith, this comment section is one of the places where I believe you belong.

        I don’t know anything about you…why am I not following your blog? I apologize! I shall go correct that stat.

      • judithsmarkworld

        Thank you! I seen it, you did. Nothing too interesting about me. I am just a young woman that likes to write, and read, and loves blogging! Thank you for following! <3

  4. Loni.Found.Herself

    Sometimes when I’m bored I like to play this game where I have to think of, say, five songs by a certain band. So easy with Huey Lewis:
    1) Power of Love
    2) Hip to be Square
    3) Do you Believe in Love (also one of my faves)
    4) Heart of Rock and Roll is the Beat
    5) I Want a New Drug

    BAM!

      • Loni.Found.Herself

        Right!? And I swear I didn’t even have to Google that ish.

        In college a professor was waxing about his travels to South America. He was deep in, I don’t know, the Amazon probably, on a bus filled with nothing but locals. He said he’d never felt further away from America than in that moment.

        And then he looked over and a guy was wearing a t-shirt that said “The Heart of Rock and Roll is the Beat.”

        Awesome.

      • That truly is awesome. I love this story! The only thing that would make it better would be if he looked over and there was Huey Lewis, the man himself…wearing a “The Heart of Rock and Roll is the Beat” t-shirt.

  5. I suddenly feel very left out. Pretty sure the only Spencers left in any of the malls around here closed a few years ago. There have never been pet stores in our mall either. Gesh our malls must SUCK. Guess it is a good thing I only visit ever 3 years or so… I used to work Sundays when I was a bartender and you are right- best. day/night. EVER. But, I don’t dig bars too much anymore; I like my bed better. Anyway, I guess we are stuck riding a merry-go-round listening to Huey while watching a Drillers or Royals game… :)
    Yes?

    • Haha – you know, I was thinking when I wrote this that it’s very conceivable Spencer’s and the mall pet stores are things of the past. Oh well…fond memories. When I think of a mall, I tend to always think of Marketplace Mall in Rochester, which was always kind of sad and run down. It’s nothing like the big fancy malls in Korea. Anyways, go Royals! Do they still have George Brett? Just kidding, kidding, go Erik Hinske. I don’t know who the Drillers are…will have to Google that. I will still support regardless – Go Drillers!!!

      Hi five to you Hope. : )

  6. Lol.. This one by you is an absolute cracker. Way to go topicless. *thumbs up*

    I love hanging around all the historical sights and being close to the nature with a good camera with me.. Good Lord now I want a vacation and the DSLR I have been drooling over

    • Thanks Myth! I can only take nature for short periods. I love the city. Actually, that’s something I could have put in here. I can’t exist in a suburban setting, as I’ve learned. I belong in a big city.

      Go buy that DSLR and take your vacation, Myth. Things like this is why God made charge cards.

    • That’s a good one. I too enjoy the supermarket. There’s something about it that makes me get all giddy. I think it’s the cart – I like the invention of the shopping cart. It’s fun and it makes the possibilities of shopping limitless. In fact, I love the supermarket and thank you for bringing this up – biggest thing I miss about America. : )

      • Very true. Many good childhood/teenage memories are had in shopping carts.

        I had the same ‘supermarket’ pangs living in Istanbul. Every time I returned home, I would blabber like a child at all the choices. Obesity in a packet.

      • Lol – “Shopping Cart Memories” That would be a good title for a blog entry or a short story or something.

        Yeah, I miss the choices. Really I just miss the junk food. I would seriously kill right now for a Hot Pocket or some Totino’s Pizza Rolls.

  7. E.

    i can relate to your feeling of the bar. i don’t know since when but i stop feeling like hanging out at bars/clubs. watching those horny people really leave me unease. it’s not that i’m against one night stands or horny people. i totally understand. i just feel it’s kinda a waste to be/live like that — hope you understand what i mean ’cause i can’t quite put it in words.

    i only go to bars once in a while to attend to my close friend’s gigs, and i only choose the ones that are far from downtown ’cause there are just a few people there and it makes me feel like watching a private performance. : P

    i think i’m most content whenever and wherever i can sit down and get drown in the pages of a good story — short, long, fiction, non-fiction, anything, as long as it’s good. bookshops, and sometimes libraries, are top choices.

    the rooftop of my friend’s house, where we can sit with the night breezes and red wine/beer, and talk about everything that comes up in our minds, is also a place i like.

    and i always feel belong to this bloody town whenever i cycle on its crazy streets.

    • Lan! You have a little motorbike? That’s great, and I don’t know why I never thought of that before. Is HCMC like Hanoi with all the motorbikes? Haha – now I’m picturing you buzzing around the city on a motorbike with your helmet on!

      I used to be such a big reader, and then I entered the working world and basically became illiterate. Now I’ll read nonfiction occasionally, but I have a lot of trouble making it through a novel. It’s sad…reading novels used to be my passion. Perhaps I need to just find a good one and devote myself to it.

      Love you Lan! Always happy when you post a comment. : D

      • E.

        i used to ride a motorbike and wear a helmet with a picture of a monkey on it — like this one, except mine is black.

        but i quit riding my motorbike last month. January was bad — bad enough to make me sit down and think about my problems and their solutions. one of my problems is that it becomes more and more stressful for me to ride my motorbike: gasoline is expensive and keeps going up; it’s difficult to find parking areas in downtown; parking fee is also expensive; i have to remember when to renew my bike insurance; the amount of money i have to spend on oil changing, maintaining and/or fixing is just too much and too often as i have lessons in lots of places in town. thus, i decided to do a favour for both of us — me and my motorbike: i gave it back to my dad, who takes better care of it, and bought myself a bicycle.

        i’ve been on my bicycle for a month now and felt much much better. i miss my motorbike — we went through countless ups and downs together — but i don’t think i will go back riding a motorbike. also, ’cause i used to ride a bicycle when i was in college, riding a bicycle now makes me feel like having a new adventure on an old playground.

        streets in Saigon are bigger (and better — according to my Hanoi friend) than streets in Hanoi. in some areas we even have boulevard-like streets. but you know traffic, when it jams, it jams; and when it jams, it’s pretty much the same frustration no matter where you are on this planet.

        what do you think of reading a dictionary, Bill? sometimes i find myself quite happy reading words from my Oxford dictionary.

        i think we all have times when it seems impossible to find a (really) good book for us to happily waste our time on.

      • Lan, I love reading about you and your motorbike. And your monkey helmet. I think that’s really sweet and adorable that you’re riding a bike around and feeling like you’re on a playground. My heart has melted.

        Um, I personally have never read the dictionary, but that’s sort of cool. You must have a killer vocabulary. What’s your favorite part of the book? A? N?

        Yeah, I meant to go to the bookstore yesterday but ended up seeing a German documentary about art instead. At least I read some subtitles…

    • Maybe they’re not still around. I’m live in Korea and kind of assumed Specer Gifts was alive and kicking back in the States. Perhaps I will have a rude awakening when I return!

      On the couch is a pretty good one. By the way, when I read your blog name, I first read it as “Diabetes and Ovaries.” I thought that was a bit intense, so I’m glad I read it wrong.

  8. Let’s see, why do I belong:
    1. Whole Foods (my inner hippy makes me wanna grow out my armpit hair)
    2. Listening to Michael W. Smith and Carmen *snickering*
    3. Santa’s lap (don’t ask)
    4. Participating in a Michael Jackson dance marathon
    5. Any Waffle House in the MidWest

    I was hoping you could explain more about the bathroom, please … :) ha. or {eew?}

    • Go for it. Grow out that armpit hair. I think that’s sexy. (Not really, but I’m willing to lie to support my friends)

      I love me some Waffle House. Only good thing about the south. Santa’s lap…a little creepy but since a mall is involved I’ll go with it. And MJ dance marathon sounds like a euphemism for masturbation to me.

      My bathroom is really neat…it has a toilet, a shower, and a sink. I broke the sink recently but that’s okay – water still comes out (too much, actually, because it’s broken). I enjoy the shower a lot, especially when I’m singing Carmen songs in it.

  9. Dammit. I need to go to bed. I meant WHERE I belong, not WHY. Dummy head. But if why is the subject at hand, I would have to answer: Because who else is going to star in the next best nerd movie, giving the graduation speech? That’s why.

  10. Merry-go-rounds are absolutely sublime, unless there’s some whiny kid yelling, “I want to get off!” Minor league baseball games and dive bars on Sundays are both places I enjoy as well. Maybe it’s my age, but a bar on weekend nights is just too much anymore. And I feel your pain about “not belonging” at the club. Some friends and I decided to venture to downtown San Diego last Tuesday for Mardi Gras. .. biiiiig mistake. We walked into a club/lounge that is normally very mellow and fun, but everyone was having simulated sex on the dance floor, while wearing really awful clothing That might be for some people, but not for me. Even when I was in my early 20s I was never into the grinding thing, so for sure now, ick.

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