I have a little crush on the cab driver who brought me home from the hospital today.  When I got in his car, I couldn’t help but notice his pimp daddy purple shirt, his white driving gloves, his dapper pinstriped pants and his barely there grey at his temples.  I handed him the only business card I have with my address on it, which was from our principal, Gary Odom. 

“Do you know Bong-mu Dong?” I asked.  Usually this question receives a “ney (yes)” or a gruntish response, but not today.  Not from my dapper daddy.  “Yes, I know it well” he said.  You know it well? I thought.  I think I love you.  Hearing English when I’d just spent a frantic hour trying to navigate the Korean emergency room for Luke’s wrist (which is not broken, thank goodness), was like retreating to the walk-in cooler in the hell-hot kitchen of a restaurant.  Just for a second. 

Then, as we pulled away and our chat continued, he asked, in much more broken words “How big here Korea?” – he wanted to know how long I’d been here – and no matter how I tried, for the next few miles, my answers were too hard for him to translate.  We struggled, and laughed a little, until both of us got a little tired, of straining to simplify and still not being understood.  Plus I get wicked car sick in the stop/start of the city traffic.   “Card again?” he asked me when he stopped at a red light.  I gave it to him.  “Oh, Gary Odom,” he smiled kindly, “You do good. You good principal, yes?”  And then there was that split second, between when I knew I should have tried to correct him (god knows Gary deserved that) and when I decided not to, that I felt so at home with Mr. Purple shirt.   It was something in his kindness that made me think of home.   Yes, I decided to answer – I knew he’d be happy just to get something in the conversation right, yes, I am.  I’m a good Gary Odom principal.  Only I didn’t, I just smiled back. 

He brought me home, the long way, but I forgive him, and when I got out of the car he said ” goodnight, new friend!”   I mean, really.  He just made the whole kooky day a little less scary and a lot more friendly.  A small town heart in a gigantic city.  Don’t you love my Pimp Dapper Daddy too?