Wednesday, March 21, 2007

"In a moment of mental abstraction..."

Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest (1895)
Algernon (Allan Aynesworth, left) and Jack (George Alexander, right)
Grappling over the missing ice cream...
(Image from Wikipedia)

After dining out on a hearty lunch in a Japanese restaurant near Bonghwasan Station last Sunday, the kids and I decided on a postprandial bit of ice cream.

To be precise, I should say that the kids decided ... except that they didn't call it postprandial. Technically, the ice cream might have been considered dessert and therefore prandial -- which might explain why neither Sa-Rah nor En-Uk requested postprandial ice cream. However, they didn't ask for prandial ice cream either, perhaps because we bought the ice cream in a store rather than in the restaurant, which tends to support a postprandial classification.

Since we'd eaten sushi, the kids could have asked for postprawndial ice cream, but my offspring would never stoop to such a stupid pun.

Despite our inability to classify what we did, we did it anyway, thus proving once again that life defies abstractions.

Speaking of abstractions, as we approached the cashier to pay for our postprawndial ice cream, En-Uk had a "Miss Prism" moment.

I placed two identical cones on the counter, one for myself and one for my wife. Sa-Rah placed a cone there of exactly the same kind. Three cones lay on the counter, but En-Uk's ice cream bar did not appear. Sa-Rah and I looked at En-Uk, who looked at us. We all three looked at the counter. No ice cream bar. Sa-Rah and I looked again at En-Uk. He looked at us.

"En-Uk," I finally said, "put your ice cream bar on the counter."

"I gave it to you," he protested, though this was manifestly untrue, for I didn't have his ice cream bar and wouldn't have had time or opportunity to misplace it in the short distance from the ice box to the counter.

"No, you didn't," I told him. "What did you do with your ice cream?"

"I don't know," he retorted -- rather crossly, in fact, as though I were asking for some impossibly complex mental activity like calculating pi to thousands of decimal places.

"Well," I concluded, "you must have left your ice cream at the ice box. Go back and get it."

The cashier, Sa-Rah, and I all watched as En-Uk turned and began walking back, the ice cream bar firmly clutched in his right hand.

"En-Uk!" Sa-Rah and I cried.

En-Uk wheeled about in annoyance. "Now what?!"

"You're holding your ice cream," I pointed out.

En-Uk looked down in astonishment to discover the previously missing ice cream, which had, apparently, materialized in his hand. Or possibly, he was wondering how I had managed to slip it back into his hand after telling him to go back to the ice box for it -- which, of course, I had not done. Then, perhaps deciding that the most reasonable response was to pretend to be reasonable, he laughed -- laudably "displaying signs of triviality" at his own "moment of mental abstraction" -- and placed the ice cream on the counter.

The cashier, Sa-Rah, and I then joined En-Uk in his ironic laughter, following which, I paid the bill for the ice cream and in leaving reflected -- not for the first time -- on the vital importance of not being too earnest.

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At 1:25 AM, Blogger Peter Orange said...

Hi, nice site^^ email? Hope you can drop by the gorgeous Cafe Nicolia sometime in Pucheon...(line one)


At 3:45 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

'Pete', this looks like an advertisement, which I usually don't allow, but I'll let this one pass even though you've not commented on my blog entry and give no evidence that you've actually read anything here (so why should I read anything at Cafe Nicolia?).

One suggestion. Include an icon on the Cafe Nicolia site that allows visitors to turn off the music. Although the music was good, I found it loud and distracting while I was trying to read the website.

If the music can't be turned off, I'll never visit Cafe Nicolia again.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 11:34 AM, Blogger Conservative in Virginia said...

En-Uk cracks me up. You must love coming home after work.

So how is ice cream in Korea? I'm surprised it's available, given that I never find dairy products in Asian restaurants.

A Vietnamese co-worker once confessed that to him, Americans all smell like milk.

At 11:42 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

CIV, the Koreans love ice cream. They're even drinking milk!

I haven't noticed them smelling like milk, though -- but maybe the lovely fragrance of kimchee covers that nasty milk stench.

Jeffery Hodges

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