As I’ve mentioned before, I have a goofy little crush on the computer teacher at my school. Her name is Jang or something, and she’s really tall and lanky and speaks absolutely no English. A few months ago her hair was long, but then she decided to cut it short. Initially, it seemed like a bad call, and my feelings for her sank significantly; in time, though, I was able to adjust and accept her hair for the person it is. Sometimes she’ll say something to the kids in English, like “Sit down” or “Okay,” filling me with the false hope that she has been keeping her bilingualism hidden all this time. Then I’ll say, “How are you?” to her, and the blank, slightly frantic look she gives me says she hasn’t been hiding anything at all.
The girls in Korea, on average, seem to have the about the same English language skills as Scooby Doo did. That is to say, they can listen to and understand the language better than they can speak it, and, also, they talk about food a lot. Conversations with Korean girls usually start off with great aspirations, only to bog down into this:
Me: I like Korean food.
Her: Do you like kimbap?
Me: I like kimbap! He-he-he-he.
Her: Do you like bulgogi?
Me: I like bulgogi! Scooby-Dooby-Doo!
Or something like that. Anyways, at least they speak some English, whereas my Korean language skills are the same as…well…as Scooby Doo’s were. You ever hear Scooby speaking Korean? No, and you won’t hear me speaking it either. Although my students have succeeded in teaching me a few odd words, using the supplies in our classroom. Not that it matters – conversations with Korean girls in bars typically don’t involve a set of flashcards.
On Monday, my school told me to move into a different classroom, for reasons I’m not sure of. Seeing that the new room is bigger and better equipped, I can only guess that this was a positive thing. They also purchased a new, large, flat screen monitor for the computer, and told me to incorporate the curriculum CD-Roms into my lessons. While that was wonderful in theory, it was hell in practice. I couldn’t get the speakers connected to the computer, I broke a mouse trying to hook it up, and numerous times I did something that caused the CD-Rom to crash. It was like a Jerry Lewis movie in there, with everything I touched going haywire on me. The high-water-mark of my computer ineptitude came at the end of the day, when it appeared that I accidently broke the computer itself. The fancy new monitor showed nothing but blackness. Surprisingly, my computer expertise – which amounted to turning the computer off and on over and over again – wasn’t fixing it.
“Holy God,” I sighed. “Am I really this bad with computers?” At home, the Norton Anti-Virus pop-up keeps telling me my computer is “at risk.” I always assumed this meant its defenses against a virus were weak, but maybe Norton meant that my computer is at risk simply because I’m around it.
I stood up, not knowing what to do, and then it hit me: What better excuse could I have for going in and talking to the
computer teacher? I mean, this was, after all, her area of expertise, wasn’t it? I never really tried to go up to her before; I figured that since we didn’t speak the same language, getting anywhere with her would require me to rely on my looks, and that would be like Paris Hilton trying to get guys based on her smarts. With the broken computer here to act as my excuse, I felt a sudden boost in confidence. I wouldn’t be hitting on her. I’d be asking her for help.
It’s important for me to point out that I did NOT purposely break the computer to have an excuse to talk to her. That would be unprofessional. As the poster child for professional workplace behavior, I merely used the accidental breaking of the computer as a means to try to score a date with my coworker.
“Computer, broken,” I said, and I took my hands and made a motion like I was snapping a pencil in two or breaking spaghetti. She followed me into the classroom and, for the next five minutes, tried to fix it by connecting and disconnecting all the wires from the back. In silence. When that didn’t work, she stood up and faced me and I could see that my hopes had been ill-conceived. She actually looked embarrassed, ashamed that she couldn’t fix it. Then Jang (or whatever her name is) did something that made my heart sink – she called in backup.
At one point, there were four of us in there jiggling wires and pressing buttons. Nothing worked. Later, when everyone had given up and I was alone, I miraculously fixed it by turning the power strip off and on again. I ran to Jang to tell her the news. “Fixed!” I shouted enthusiastically, holding my arms up in the air to signify victory. She kind of laughed a little bit and clapped.
In all seriousness, I’ll never try to make a move on Jang. It’s just really fun having somebody at work to crush on a little bit. If she wasn’t there, it would’ve been a putrid day with lots of computer mishaps. But she was there, and it helped. Knowing my luck with technology, I’ll probably ask her to fix the computer again. And, maybe one day, she’ll ask me if I like kimbap.