Friday, 6 August 2004

Strange Phonecall

I'll hopefully have my Laos holiday written up for the weekend, and then everything will be up to date once again and I'll start writing a little more regularly, but in the meantime, I received a strange phonecall last night.

The call came at 11.30pm last night, although I didn't know that at the time. All I knew was that I found myself woken up from my sleep and suddenly on the phone. I barely remember the first minute of the phonecall as my world was still a hazy, confused mess and what was being said to me only confused me more.

When my senses did slowly come to me, I became aware I was speaking to a Korean man. I really have no idea about the exact content of the first minute of conversation, but I recall him saying his name, and that he had two daughters at Castle School, where I teach. The part that really threw me was that he said his daughter's names were "soju". In case you don't know, soju is the national drink of Korea, a toxic and noxious clear liquid the Koreans love to pour down their throats, and it can mess you up in a big way. So having two daughters called "soju" was just plain odd. However, as I was still finding consciousness at this stage, I couldn't quite comprehend my own confusion so let it pass.

When my senses finally began to fall into place, my instincts were to presume that this was a prank call. The broken English was understandable but the accent could have been from anywhere, not just Korea. It might have been Spanish. Also, my brain was still processing the ludicrous daughter-soju claim. I almost put the phone down because it was all seeming too bizarre. But I continued to listen.

The man - Eric was his name - was talking about a summer camp, a summer camp for English. He was wondering if I'd like to come along, and that I'd be paid of course. It was in two weeks time, either in Gyeongju or Gumi, and was just for Friday night. My responses were either monosyllabic or confused questions like "What are you talking about?", "Who are you again?" and "A summer camp for one night?".

All the time I was expecting a prank with Matt suddenly appearing on the phone laughing at me, but Eric kept on talking, seeming perfectly serious. All of a sudden, he asked me if I enjoyed my holiday in Laos, which really threw me and had me further convinced it was a prank.

Eventually, I just had to say that he'd have to phone me again. It had to be a prank and I couldn't face it in my haze, but neither did I want to risk offence by slamming the phone down in case it wasn't. I told him that I was very confused as he'd just woken me from my sleep, and to call me tomorrow evening and I'd be able to think properly then. He apologised for waking me from my sleep, and that was that.

Subsequent thoughts, and speaking to David, and I think the call may have been genuine. Summer camps for just a weekend do exist, and I'd basically just be spending a weekend playing games with kids, speaking English. Likely, he phoned the school last week and got my number through them, which would have been when they'd have said I was away on holiday to Laos. Hopefully he'll phone me again and I can make a bit more sense of it all, and be less confused and defensive as I was last night. Mind you, if he calls me at 11.30pm, then he shouldn't expect a bright and happy response from me.

However, if it turns out that Matt was behind all this, just to wind me up, I'll kick the wholesome good looks off his stupid, happy face.

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