Oct 29, 2010

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

When I was in the Marines in California, the movie "Always" was playing at the base theater. I'm not one to go to restaurants or movies alone, but for some reason I went to this one alone. I had heard good things about it and wanted to see it. So I went. This song plays a key role in the movie and Holly Hunter connects with it and really makes it memorable. I loved the movie and the story and the actors (Dreyfuss, come ON!) -- it's an underrated movie. Go find it and watch it. Oh and John Goodman is hilarious and has shows some serious acting chops.

A couple years later I'm still a Marine, but living in Korea as a linguist. I'm detached from my unit for the summer to study at the University and that puts me in Seoul. I had a couple favorite bars I'd go to and just hang out. I had never really hung out at a bar regularly before -- alone, that is. I would sit at the bar and drink bad Korean beer and chat with the bartenders.

One of the two bars was deep in the military/tourist area. The bartender was a young woman who always smiled. She would chat with me and when I got something wrong she'd smile a huge smile of someone who was happy to help but also a little embarrassed by the error. When I went out once with my class we went there and they loved it. That's where I heard the best riddle about cigarettes from a Korean who grew up in Nepal. Those were some strange days.

Another was a bar much further up the hill on the edge of the bright lights, but it was a smaller, quieter bar. The bartender there was an older lady who was really nice and helped me with my conversational skills. If she was serving someone and accidentally chipped the beer bottle opening it she'd give it to me. Yeah, I know, but it was free beer. I would occasionally request this song and she'd happily play it.

So whenever I hear the song I think about two times when I was alone in my life but happy to be so. And I see those people, those bars, that theater. It's not major, nor is it earth-shattering, but it's very nice.

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