Tuesday, March 6, 2012

So I saw a kid straight up spit on the subway floor...

And that wasn't even the weirdest thing that happened to me today.

Alright folks, let's mosey on back to a more positive subway experience.  Saturday evening, I was on the subway to meet up with some friends in Haeundae. As I stepped onto the train a little boy (7?) looked up at me with the wide eyed bewilderment of an antelope.  With mouth gaping, he said, "Hello?"  I responded in kind.  His mother looks  up and sees me, reaches into her bag and hands him two pieces of candy.  His eyes glowed with anticipation.  He stumbled across the aisle to me, and with two hands, head bowed reverently offered me one of the little pieces of candy.  A little token of his happiness. He kept the other for himself.  We opened our pieces with matching glee, and popped them into our mouths.  "Thank you!" I said.  And, it was then I realized that I was no longer a social pariah on the Busan subway and for that I was truly thankful.

I feel like there is really no segue from that paragraph to the next.  But, I will just smash on anyway.  Today, a young man (senior in high school), asked me to join him for tea with his homeroom teacher.  Now, I am never one to turn down tea, and it would have been rude for me to do so.  So, I followed him to his classroom where everything was set up.  I felt very much like I was on a date with this kid and his teacher was that mother that would just bring juice, soda, fresh bread, sliced pineapple, and pot roast at varying intervals just to make sure there was no hanky panky between the couple.  Now, that never happened to me because

1. Boys were never allowed in my room,
2. Hanky panky has been rumored to lead to a baby, 
3. Lesbie honest...not gonna happen.

Anyway, so this woman puts straight up dried flowers into a glass tea pot, and pours in boiling water.  As the water infused the bulbs, they began to bloom in the water delightfully flavoring it chamomile.  So, this young man pours my tea, and true to custom , I pour his.  At this point, I was a little nervous.  I didn't want to start breaking hearts so soon, and so young.  Poor guy.  Then, my ego way got the better of me.  He very timidly said (in grammatically perfect English), "I am applying to University in Seoul, and I would like it if you would be able to help me."  Ahhhh, all anxiety ceases, and I sputter between sips, "Yes, of course! With what would you like help?"  etc, etc, etc. So, we set up a writing schedule.  He gave me his number. I gave him my email.  Then, he left for after school school.  Then, there was a half a pot of tea left, so the homeroom teacher sat down and we finished the pot.  She spoke a little more English than I do Korean, but she was able to read and understand very well.  Needless to say, it was an awkward tea experience all around.

Then, I walked to my subway stop, got on, and patooie! Someonne spit right on the ground.  Inside the subway.  I also saw a guy pick his nose, and people sometimes do not cover their mouths when they cough.  I understand why people wear the germ masks.

Now, throughout all of these observations, I was definitely rocking Charlotte Church and Eric Whitacre (for the record, Sarah, you sing Habanera better than her).  It was one of the nicest days we have seen in Busan yet, and with music as my inspiration I decided to prove American stereotypes are wrong, and that not all of us are lardy lards.  Juuuuuuuuust, most of us.  After boiling water to purify it to make sure i had something to drink when I came home, changing, leaving my room, coming back to my room to change my bra, leaving heading down four flights of stairs, climbing back up those stairs to come back to my room, putting on my knee braces, and finally leaving my room.  I took the elevator down.  Some stereotype smasher I am.  So, anyway, I leave my room and run a mile to this really beautiful park at the base of a mountain.  As I was deciding what path to take, I very literally stumbled across this outdoor gym.  Henceforth be known as Forest Gym.

It wasn't like in America where there is a balance beam, maybe some high bars, and, if you're lucky, a bench to do step ups.  No, this was a full out gym.  There were monkey bars, inverted sit up benches, high bars of various heights, parallel bars for short people, parallel bars for tall people.  There was something that looked like a Tony Little Gazelle, and this thing that you stand on that swivels as you turn your hips side to side.  There were triceps dips, and my very favorite huge, giant hula hoops.  Yeah, hula hoops.  Anyway, so I am trying to process all of this.  I went to a machine, and very quickly realized that I was the only person there not an octogenarian, but I was also the one doing the weakest amount of reps with the poorest form.  So, I tried the hipper swivel-doowopadoo.  I am minding my own business, rocking to Glee's version of Bon Jovi.  And, this women steps onto the hipper swivel-doowopadoo directly across from me.  She just smiled and whipped her hips back and forth, she whipped her hips back and forth.  After several rotations of that, while I am agape with profound befudlement, she trots off to the side near the stream and just starts stretching out.  You know, doing the toe touches and hip swirls, sort of like Bartok from Anastasia.  I want you to know right now that I am not making fun of this woman.  She looked like a rock star and she could easily be my grandmother. I was impressed and a little jealous.

And then, IT happened.  The thing that was weirder than a kid spitting on the floor.  I see a cat, which looked like a domesticated house cat meander across the path leading to the Forest Gym.  It looks around to see if anyone was looking (obviously he didn't catch me with his cat's eye), and just took a dump in front of God and Forest Gym people to see.  He shook his little booty and walked away like nothing happened.  I thought to myself, "Man, I wonder if I will ever get to that  stage of life.  Pooping where ever I want, shaking it off and walking away." Then, I realized that I am a human, and I had been taking up good space on the hipper swivel-doowopadoo. With that realization, I left Forest Gym and went wee wee wee all the way home.  Or, I just ran.  And then climbed the 20 flights of stairs.  And then proceeded to huff and puff and enter in my 6 digit pin code to blow down (or open) the door.

1 comment:

  1. I remember being gawked at on the subway too in Japan. Actually I was at a video store when that happened. A boy saw me, gasped, pointed, and ran away. When I went to the japanese bath house,similar things happened because well we were all naked, and they were curious to see how a westerner looks. Glad you're having so much fun. :)