I am a mule. I carry small items on my person across borders and hand them off to an individual at a designated spot, at a designated time.
Usually these items are stashed in the depths of my duffel bag or backpack. NJ Transit currently doesn’t search personal items so for now I’m safe. For now I won’t have to hide these items in more, um, uncomfortable areas.
Sometimes I’m required to bring a gift along with my delivery, such as a food item that I forget to refrigerate and which then spoils, much to the consternation of my employer. I’ve received only a warning so far. Next time I won’t be so lucky.
What do I receive in exchange you may ask? A meagre salary? No. Freedom to travel beyond the Hudson River? No, I already have this. What I receive is a most basic necessity: food that is actually edible.
After my delivery, I’m often asked to return something to my employer, and so I’m forced to go back and begin the cycle again, the vicious cycle of the Korean soap opera DVD exchange.
The Chinese addiction to Korean soap operas is an international epidemic. From Taipei to New York to San Francisco, people can’t get enough of them, often foregoing shows produced in their own countries, to the point that Taiwan and China have started “cracking down” on the popular dramas.
While I don’t believe in government involvement, the obsession has definitely gone too far. For instance, my employer, a 60+ year old mother of two, carries around a keychain with her favorite Korean heartthrob, a young man nearly 40 years her junior. Her older sister is even worse, often calling to giggle and gossip for hours about the attractive stars.
So I continue to aid and bet in this addictive circle, forever trapped as long as my own addiction to my employer’s home cooking lives on.