I have had an orange stain on my left thumbnail for over a week now. I went to the doctor today, because while it didn’t hurt, I wanted to make sure it wasn’t some fungus. She pressed on my thumbnail to see if she could do something to the color (blanch it?). She examined my other fingers.
“Well. It’s not a fungus. It’s not a bruise. And it’s not something indicative of your health because all of your other nails are fine. So it must be a stain. Curry? Iodine? Spaghetti sauce?”
“Nope, haven’t had contact with any of those things lately, and when I cook, I cook with both hands. We’ve been eating lots of tangerines, which I peel with my hands, but mostly my right thumb, and it’s perfectly normal.”
The doctor shook her head, “It’s some sort of stain, but I don’t know what it is. It’ll take three months to grow completely out, probably. If it bothers you, you can wear nail polish.”
I laughed, “OK, well now I feel stupid, but I really didn’t know what it was…”
“Well, I’m not really sure what it is either…”
We were doing one of those strange special forces forms, and I could not figure out this one move. Something about fist in an arc and punching with the other arm. It was really frustrating.
At one point Special Forces said, “You have two arms! Can you control your body? 바보예요?” Are you an idiot?
I knew he didn’t mean it to be cruel. “네! 바보예요! 맞아요! 괜찮아요!” Yes, I’m an idiot! That’s right! It’s OK!
He couldn’t stop laughing. Good Man couldn’t stop laughing when I told him the story later. Even in America, I am sometimes a foreigner, and thus I can get away with such language.
After class I wished him a happy new year, did a deep bow, and asked for money. He in turn did the same to me. We were speaking Korean the whole time, so my classmates—a white teenager and a Latina teenager and her father—were utterly confused.
Neither of us had any money.