Circle K's are everywhere in District 1. Sometimes there are two or three per block. They sell pretty much the same kind of crap that the ones in the US sell except swapping American garbage foods with a variety of Asian garbage foods, including but not limited to my favorite Korean kimchi-flavored seaweed snack and, most importantly, 750 ml bottles of Gordon's gin.
Walking home from work the other night, I swung in to the closest Circle K for a couple of cans of tonic water. Two young American hippie-looking kids with pasty skin, eyeballs as big as saucers, and arms full of junk food were staring at one particular cookie display. The boy catches a glimpse of me out of the corner of his eye and his face perks up. That's when I went into defense mode, making a beeline for the back of the store where the cold beverages are kept, my goal to not make eye contact again with them. Plan backfires.
"Hey!", says the boy to me (I say 'boy' but he's probably about 25). "Hey! can you tell me where I can buy a muffin?".
I glance over at him wearily. "A muffin?"
"Yeah we just landed here and i'm REALLY JONESIN' for a muffin. I'd even take a blueberry one. Where can I buy a muffin here?"
Right, cos blueberries, not to mention muffins, are aplenty here. Does this kid know he's in Southeast Asia, I wonder. "Well, there's a Starbucks nearby".
"Great!". He and his girlfriend, who is just as spaced out as him, practically jump for joy and nearly drop their armloads of crap. "We'll head there!".
"Yeah, so hang a left out of here and it's about a block and a half down....".
"Wait, what? a block and a half away? Man, that's waaaaay too far". Boy looks crestfallen.
"Uh, too far? It's a block and a half dude".
"Nah, i'll just have to make do with these weird cookies I guess".
I start walking towards the cashier, ready to get the hell out of neon lit pasty face land.
"Hey, one more question! Hey so... is it legal to smoke pot here?".
I stop and turn to him. "WHAT?!?".
"Yeah, well you know, I've seen people smoking weed in public so I wasn't sure if that's a thing. I mean, can I buy it? And where can I buy it? Can I just light up anywhere like the locals do?".
In retrospect, there's so much I could have said and probably should have, but it had been a crap week and all I wanted was a fucking gin and tonic and a half dozen limes at that point. And I probably sounded like the oldest bat in the world when I responded with a, "Sorry dude, that's not my lifestyle".
"Oh.. okay, just thought i'd try. Thanks!"
He and the girl turned back towards the cookie display, the tip of his tongue sticking out from his mouth as if to really concentrate on the task at hand.
Bless his heart.