I Live In Cheong Dam Dong 9: You Like Me?

Love is in the air.  The manhwabang must have water (or ramyun) laden with various love pheromones of the strongest kind.

Another break of dawn at the morning club, to the music of Call of the Cows, William Tell Overture, HyeJa vexes over the controlling power of Pinklady.  Her smile is the seal of the utmost approval.  HJ checks her smile in mirror, Pinklady has never looked at her in a positive light.

Teacher enthusiastically reads Kim Suyoung’s  ‘Crime and Punishment’ to illustrate the key to a good poem is to be in touch with one’s sensibility.

HJ recites it in sync with Teacher:

‘Only those prepared to make sacrifices,’ ‘can commit murder.’ Teacher rhymes in.

‘When I pummeled my wife with that umbrella,’

‘Our son was crying beside us,’

‘While a crowd of forty gathered around us, on the road battered by rain.’  Teacher says in perfect cadence.

‘All I worried about on my way home was whether anyone I knew witnessed this dismal crime.’

‘No what actually worried me…’

‘was I left the umbrella behind.’  HJ finishes Teacher’s reciting of the line.

Teacher is seeing HJ in a new light, with a love of true poetry.  Her classmates are not beaming with the same adoration though.  Pinklady pulls a long nonchalant face.

JE clearly had a long day, she is rushing Bum to leave so they can close the Manhwabang.  Bum has just arrived, JE tells him to come earlier next time.  Early bird catches the worm.

‘What about the early worm?’ Bum asks back.

‘That worm was just going to bed after a long night out.’

Bum concedes, he’ll leave after finishing the volume.

JE’s conversation with Aunt  is all about Bum.  His clothes are too light, Aunt snarks maybe the fire as a musician is keeping him warm, making peanuts just enough to spend time at the manhwabang.  JE is relieved he has a job alone, as she looks at Bum’s direction all concerned.

This sight reminds her of an ex she dated for 6 months, a seonbae/senior in college, always looking cold and tired with greasy specs.  She dumped him, he’s unemployed after graduation and she felt like she had abandoned a puppy on the street.  Bum reminds her of Greasy Specs, even how pathetic when he sneezes…and yawns.

At the morning club, Teacher is still on the subject on the poem from yesterday, specifically on the umbrella.  He’s asking Madam Kim  HyeJa to answer every one of his questions to which she’s giving the exact feedback he’s looking for, the umbrella is a sign the writer is very frank and straightforward.  Teacher sings praises of HJ’s keen insight.  Hj is taken aback by a teacher’s attention for the very first time in her life.  She also can’t help but look at Pinklady for a reaction.

A newbie water purifier salesperson is at Piace,  Chef turns him down frankly, she is not convinced of the new model he’s selling.  JE chases him out as SY is walking in.  When she greets SY with an ‘annyeong hase…’  she has flashbacks of the embarrassingly drinking date, ‘…yo!’

JE catches up with water purifier guy, telling him to try out the new offices all around in the renovated buildings, there is also a new hair stylist around.  SY stops and listens, he wants a word with JE, ‘Later!’ JE cuts her off.   SY says the strange building over there houses an architectural firm.  He tells the salesman to install one there.  JE thanks SY for the kind gesture.  She thinks he’s doing it for her sake.  SY thanks her instead for working so hard helping out his cousin who owns that water purifier company.

Chef is starting to worry about JE.  JE ensures her she won’t let the troubles of a guy affect her again.  But Chef is worried about her skirt, she’s been prancing around with the zipper down.  As JE turns to zip her skirt, her eyes meet SY, sitting all cushy at his corner, gloatingly mouthing, ‘You said “Later”‘ *LOLZ Oh JE, is there any meeting of you and SY that is not in the annals of most embarrassing booboos of a girl?*

The ladies are not enthusiastic about the homework on that nondescript poem, they asks if Pinklady agrees.  She nods.   HJ takes a pause more than usual to squeeze a conforming smile.

The three stooges and Doggy Poo are street watching from the rooftop.  It is filled with couples, maybe it’s the end of the year.  MS sour-grapes dating is a nuisance, SH chimes it is a waste of time and money and the hassle of the constant need to please them.  WH is sick of dating all the time.  The other two puts him in his place, this is too far.  WH insists women couldn’t help but fall for him when he tried.  He only bothered dating the model type.  That is too welcoming for the ever pettily competitive childish side of MS to make an entrance.  MS is oozing charisma without trying to himself.  Women have a thing for charismatic men exactly like him.  SH joins in the bragging, in his hometown, anyone with daughters feared him (which I must say is an honest truth)  Both WH and MS asks SH to shut it.

MS states he is the only one who is married, hence the lone one making sense, if only he had not married.  WH jabs MS’ wife got herself an amateur in the game.  MS ‘corrects’ him, even though he married early he has made many women fall for him.  The other two stooges demands MS to stop at his farces again.

It’s the birthday of one of the CDBB boys, as a precious gift, he can sleep on the floor with the blanket all by himself to stretch and turn all he wants.

JE reminisces on her past relationships:  highschool geographic teacher (!), boyfriend in college, Greasy Specs.  The common thread is she felt sympathy for all those men.  Her problem is being too kind, she has to grow out of it to improve.  She has higher standards now (living in CDD).  She is starting with a customer, warning him not to ask her any questions and never tells her anything about himself.  She will ignore them now rather than regret meeting them later.  She will not allow herself to fall for such losers.  She won’t allow Manager to even look at her.

The birthday gifting continues.  Birthday boy has the whole blanket to himself and they are hiding his extra present underneath:  2 ramyuns fancily tied, adorned with soup bases.  Manager walks in, hides under the blanket, fussing over why JE treats him so poorly while we hear munching of crunchy ramyun.

Chef orders a pricey special coffee for the ladies, only 400 kilos are produced per year.  HJ feigns she has no time for coffee, but when Pinklady says caffeine is good for her, HJ concurs and sips her cup.

Chef introduces Alfred Hwang, who has met Pinklady at a fashion show organized by the ambassador.  He is singing praises to her timeless beauty and beautiful necklace then dropping her hand the next minute with a flare, to greet a lady who just walks in, lighting up the whole room, making others look like rags. Pinklady is bummed while HJ is silently enjoying her misery and the coffee.

The three stooges are at the pojangmacha:  each of them will show off his Game.  WH goes first, without finishing 3 words, the ladies shoo him off, telling him they are not buying the gum or whatever he’s selling.

JE is napping when Bum walks in, she has been wondering when he’d show up.  After a few almost hugs, constantly in each others’ way, JE tells Bum to never look her way.  She would feel sorry for him, and it is an everyday occurrence. *heh, sth is in the air or water!* Bum turns her head to show her how to not face him instead.

Look.  Look!

*Staring at the ceiling* You told me not to.

Both of them back in their nooks, JE can’t help but notice his shabby clothes and sockless ankles. (lolz totally normal and not pervie to stare at bare flesh, JE).  She distracts herself busying over nothing when he props beside her, not looking at her per direction, asking if there is ramyun.  JE says they ran out.  Bum winces with his empty tummy, puts his focus back on his manhwa for a few seconds and that is when JE goes all motherly on him, offering to buy him socks and fussing over his coughing.

SH’s turn hitting on the ladies at the pojangmacha ends with them calling the cops and apologies.

JE sees a poetry book of HJ by coincidence at the front desk. It reads:

‘I’m only feeling sorry for him because I feel sorry for myself.  I see me through him.  Not able to accept my situation, I use him like a mirror.  Through which I peek at myself.  He is me.’

Greasy Specs reminds her of dad out of a job.  She is the water purifier guy, transient in this place.   Bum is how she sees herself, being looked down upon.  JE soothes her own overwhelmed heart, she encourages herself she is all right, she should not feel sorry for herself.  *awww isn’t it awesome HJ drops nuggets of wisdom, words of  TLC chicken soup for the soul through a random poetry book she leaves maybe unintentionally where her daughter may see?!?!*

Big Reveal! For sure JE needs not feel sorry for Bum, his home is of spacious modern comfort, scratch comfort maybe, bread is stale, fridge is void of human footprint.

It is MS’ turn.   He pulls out his ultimate weapon:  his name card of plastic surgeon Choi MooSung.  His clinic is at CDD, he lives in CDD as well.  He’s studied in Japan.

WH calls it as it is: total fail. He and SH have reasons to be disliked, MS has nothing in particular, ie no solution.  They are drinking to that.  They could be fixed with some plastic surgery, MS has nothing to be fixed and thus hopeless.

Well-off Bum hands JE a bag of ramyun, she told him she has run out.  Of course JE goes make him one, her only hesitation is whether to be extra sweet giving him rice on the side.   At the last second, she sneaks him the rice, repeating to herself she is being nice not because she’s sorry for herself and there is no need to worry about him (and by association herself), but she turns and tells him not to eat too fast.  Bum looks at her intrigued.

At the morning club, Pinklady is reciting her homework:

She kisses the back of my hand.  I am the queen.  But this ballerina pushing 60 is trying to push me away from my throne.  I drown my murderous intents in the most graceful of smiles. I can not help but look at her as she vapidly blinks like an ox.

HJ ponders, ‘Why do I feel so strange about all this?!’

‘…For she could never steal my spot, she can only look lovely to my eyes.  Lets be kind to her.’

Pinklady is visibly shaken, she is ashamed of her frankness.

HJ joins the dots of ‘vapidly blinking like an ox’ and ‘pushing her away from her throne’ as clues Pinklady is talking about her.  When HJ confronts Pinklady, she walks away uncomfortably.

It is HJ’s turn:

It’s so easy to look down on something, calling it lovely.  Bless your heart, you’re lovely too. Staring down at the world as if you were on a pedestal.  You sad and pathetic little creature.  Like a teddy bear thrown on the backseat of a car.  Shall I just hit the brakes on you?  So your neck will get all cranky and snap?

Pinklady puts up her hand, she promptly has another masterpiece to share:

You conniving thing, blinking vapidly like an ox.   Turns out you do have a brain?! Try as you may, it is all worthless.  Useless.  Because whatever you try, it won’t work.

And HJ is feverishly scribbling feverishly all the while, immediately she follows suit:

Ding Ding Ding Ding!   Time for our physical education class.  Wear your gym clohtes and come to the track field.  Let’s get it on.  The Mapo pork rind ajumma will referee us. *gasps from Pinklady*  Here… Let us skin each other.  Where shall we start from?  Ajumma, more charcoal, please!  I’ll chew on your skin, as it sizzles and burns on the grill.

*LOLZ, oh HJ HJ HJ, no one is your match in these quirky weird poetry of yours*

Madam Pinklady is baffled, inhaling and exhaling in visible, audible gulps.

After class, the two poetry-butting ladies stay behind. Pinklady says she’s sorry for acting like that with people around.  She asks HJ to forgive her.  HJ nods.  As she exits, Pinklady says:

Still, when I said you were lovely, I really meant it. Of all the people here, you are the only one I can stand.

At her kitchen table, HJ thinks back on all the lies she has fabricated and still she is looked down upon.  Pinklady said she’s the only one she can stand, calling her lovely to insult her.   But she notices there is this inexplicable excitement in her.

Does she really likes me?

To the lyrics of:

♪From the first moment I saw her, she was already someone else’s wife.  But that has never mattered much to me.  Because true love is only possible in your imagination.  It was through those furtive curtains, that I first saw you.  As if the world suddenly stopped before me, as love filled my heart.♪

We see Manager eying BoHee longingly from every discerning corner just away from her sight.

We end the episode with this:

ROFLMAO!!!! SH and WH are getting almost their entire face tweaked.  MS marker blueprint is more drastic, which WH jabs is futile: MS can’t be fixed. MS insists on giving it a try, but WH warns him it is absolutely useless. And we know the ‘Can Fix!’ ‘Useless’ bickering can go on for hours or days, while our tummy refuses to loose up from all the roaring lolz.

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