Today I must beg your indulgence. I wrote today’s Friday Fictioneers story in Korean. Yes, it is pertinent, and yes, there is a translation. However, only the Korean version is 100 words long.
I wrote it with non-Korean speakers in mind, but still I’d like you to read the Korean first (there’s English in it). Try to make guesses about what’s going on before you read the translation. Consider it a metaphor for living abroad, when you can catch part of what is going on, but not the whole thing, and many times, not the most important nuances.
외국사람 커플 들어갈때 식당이 조용했다. 다른 손님이 없었다. 3시: 점심과 저녁의 바쁜 시간 딱 사이 있었다.
직원이 와서 남자가 메뉴판을 얼른 보고 손가락으로 가리켰다. “Also, fork please. Fork?” 포크로 먹는 손짓했다.
“You should try using chopsticks, Mark.” 여자친구가 말했다.
그때 한국인 할아버지 들어왔다. 외국사람 커플 밖에 손님이 없는지 확인한 후에 자리에 앉아서 떡볶이를 주문했다. “그리고 포크주세요” 라고 말했다.
마크가 들어서 웃었다. “You see? Even Koreans are using forks these days. Chopsticks are history.”
할아버지가 코트를 벗었다. 왼손이 없고 오른손에 엄지 손가락만 남았다. 떡볶이를 받아서 포크를 느리고 아프게 들고 먹기 시작했다.
이제 마크가 웃지 않았다. “Maybe I’ll try chopsticks after all.”
And now, the translation:
The restaurant was quiet and empty when the non-Korean couple entered. It was 3:00: right between the lunch and dinner rush.
The waitress came over and the man scanned the menu and pointed to something. “Also, fork please. Fork?” He mimed using a fork.
“You should try using chopsticks, Mark,” his girlfriend said.
Just then, an old Korean man came in. After making sure there was no one in the restaurant besides the foreign couple, he sat down and ordered. “Fork, please,” he said.
Mark heard him and laughed. “You see? Even Koreans are using forks these days. Chopsticks are history.”
The old man took off his coat. His left hand was gone and on the right, only the thumb remained. He got his food and slowly, painfully picked up the fork and began to eat.
Mark wasn’t laughing anymore. “Maybe I’ll try chopsticks after all.”