Caveat: The Party I Planned But Didn’t Know About

Last night we had a 회식 [hoesik = work-related dining and drinking experience, for which I think there is no useful English Translation – maybe 50's style "Business Lunch" with lots of alcohol, but late at night]. 

As is so often the case, I found out about it only because of my efforts to be attentive to the Korean-language patter around me – they just assume I understand what's going on, anymore, which places the obligation on me to pay attention.

So I turned to my coworker Kay and said I would go, but I hate these "last minute" versions – as I've mentioned before on this blog. She was momentarily quite confused. We went back and forth a few times, before she finally said. "It's not last-minute. Curt announced it in the Kakaotalk last week." 

I checked my Kakaotalk (a kind of facebook messenger type app ubiquitous in Korea) on my phone. "Uh… you mean this?" Last week, there was the following exchange, in Kakaotalk (which I'd had while still at my mom's in Australia):

Curt: Happy day jared let's have a party soon~

Jared: Thank you! We can have an English-teaching party on Monday.

Curt: Ok let's.

Kay nodded. 

I said to her, "You realize I was joking when I said 'party,' there? And I thought it was obvious."

I use the word 'party' in this joking sense ALL THE TIME, at work. I use it with my students, as in, "uh-oh, I guess we need to have a homework party," in response to a class where the majority haven't finished their homework. I use it with coworkers, as in, "We're having a comment-writing party, I think." 

I don't know where I picked up this ironic usage of 'party' – maybe during my years working in tech in Los Angeles. We would have 'coding parties' and 'testing parties' for software. It seemed pretty common in the circles I ran in.

Kay was dismissive. "I knew it was a joke. But Curt didn't. So he made it a plan for a party."

I just laughed.

And later I went to the party.

It was at that meat place near the cancer hospital where Curt knows the owners, I think. It's OK – though this Korean-style barbecue-at-the-table is not my favorite cuisine, anymore. Requires careful chewing.


It made my first day back at work after my vacation VERY LONG. "Party as adverse experience." Hard to adapt.

[daily log: walking, 7km]