How Odd

Only a block from my apartment is Odyssey, a self-proclaimed “Western Bar.”  How I lived in the neighborhood for four months without darkening their door, I do not know.  The Olde English sign alone should have been enough to draw me in.  (As it turns out, they do not serve OE.)

I assumed that a “Western Bar” meant an American style bar, where I could sit alone on a bar-stool and maybe watch some sort of sport on the television.  Feeling somewhat lonely and homesick, this behavior was exactly what I was looking for.  However, the “Westernness” of Odyssey consisted primarily of a few small cowboy statuettes and a Betty Boop poster.  So I sat alone at a table, watching the news without any sound.  With the help of a young lady at the next table, I ordered fried chicken and a Beck’s Dark.  I am sure I looked particularly lonely at a table set for four with a huge pile of fried chicken (and the side of fries that came with it) in front of me.  I was several people short of a Homeric ideal: “There is nothing better or more delightful than when a whole people make merry together, with the guests sitting orderly to listen, while the table is loaded with bread and meats, and the cup-bearer draws wine and fills his cup for every man.”

Beer of the week: Beck’s Dark – Perhaps my own bad mood flavored the beer.  I had remembered Beck’s Dark fondly for its crisp, dark malt flavor combined with a light body.  On this night however, the beer seemed somewhat bland and watery.  For the price, I was happy to move on to domestic draughts to wash down my chicken.  Also, in Korea, the neck of the chicken is fried and served with the rest.  I assume this is done as a joke.

Reading for the week:  The Odyssey by Homer, Book IX, Lines 1-38 – Ulysses begins his emotional narrative to the Phaeacians with the claim that there is nothing more delightful than merry-making with plenty of wine and food.  But he goes on to show that even in such a pleasant atmosphere, the weary traveler longs for his home.

Question for the week:  If “there is nothing dearer to a man than his own country,” what sort of force is it that makes men leave their homes and seek adventure in the first place?