This Great Society - Contents
 




 

 

Thoughts and Analysis

Illustration: Linnea Elynn Mcnally

Lynn Passmore, “Ari From Brooklyn”, Creative Non-fiction
Illustration: Linnea Elynn Mcnally

On Friday, August 24th, 2007, I meet my nemesis.

Having arrived in Seoul to begin a year as an English teacher, I am attending a meet-and-greet with my future co-workers. There is nothing so strange as eyeing a group of new people, knowing that these are my future friends. My family for a year. Exhausted with jet-lag, my face hangs ever lower into plates of fried chicken and fresh fruit; I’m not much in the mood for passing judgments. That is, until he walks in.

The pub doors burst open and I am jostled into consciousness.

“I’M ARI FROM BROOKLYN! I’M 21!”

It takes mere minutes before I’m acquainted with his life’s history. His mother abandoned his family when he was a child, he loathes his step-mother, his relationship with his father is troubled, at best. He’s Jewish and a rapper. In the last year, he has been to Israel, Japan, and Mexico. Now Seoul. He is proud. He has made it.

“DAYUM! SEOUL AIN’T SEEN NOTHIN’ YET! IT’S ARI FROM BROOKLYN IN THA HOUSE! I’M 21! I’M THE KING OF THE WOOOOORRRRLD!”

A gentle girl, partial to quiet chats with close friends, literary classics, red wine, and sharp cheese, I’m finding Ari From Brooklyn’s verbal onslaught somewhat overwhelming. I’m comforted by the fact that there are so many others around me. They seem normal. They seem hip. I’ll have no trouble surrounding myself with others, keeping Ari From Brooklyn at a distance.

Distance, however, seems to be unattainable. Ari From Brooklyn lives in the apartment next to mine. Ari From Brooklyn teaches in the classroom next to mine. Ari From Brooklyn wants to spend every moment with my husband and me. And when we are not together, the paper-thin walls that separate our rooms hardly serve to keep us apart.

He wakes me from sleep with impromptu, 5 a.m. rap sessions. I am disgusted by his excessive drinking, cringing whenever I hear him vomit. I find his unashamed use of pornography distasteful. I’m offended because he uses Jewish-ness as an excuse for being cheap. I am irritated by constantly having to baby-sit him through every step of our job training. I am embarrassed to be with him in public.

“DAYUM, THOSE CHICKS ARE FIIII-IIINE! YO YO YO, LYNN, SNAP MY PIC WIT DEM CHICKS.”

 
 

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