This Train is Full

I don’t usually eat breakfast before I leave the house because my school provides breakfast for me. It’s always soup. Pumpkin soup, juk (kind of a rice oatmeal), chicken and rice soup, always some kind of soup with kimchi. Now, I love kimchi. Danielle is all about some kimchi, just not first thing in the morning. I think that should be something I gradually work up to- for my stomach’s sake and for the fact that the entire faculty and staff uses one toilet.

So, Monday morning on the way to work, I’m not feeling full of energy (or anything else). For me, hungry = grumpy. Morning rage is lying dormant within me, waiting to be aroused.

Rage Inciter #1: An older man in a ridiculous yellow jacket decides that he does not have to get in line like the rest of commuting humanity. He will simply stand beside the line and enter the train at his own will. This makes me angry. If the line is long, then the line is long, people! Deal with it. It’s called life (or being late, if you’re me). So, Yellow Jacket decides because he is losing his hair at rapid rates that he should not be subjected to “the line.” So he stands beside me. He can’t stand behind me because there people are IN LINE! My rage is awake.

Rage Inciter #2: I find myself stuck in Metro Purgatory as we board the train. You haven’t been hearing a lot about good ol’ M.P. for a while because I’ve been avoiding it like the plague. But I’m pushed for time this particular morning and I AM GETTING ON THIS TRAIN, Metro Purgatory or not. So, I’m squeezed into this small space in front of the doors and guess whom I get to be back to back with? Yep, it’s Yellow Jacket. I had the pleasure of standing directly on the heels of a shorter man in a suit with earphones in, who in turn had the pleasure of being able to see the side of my face hovering over his shoulder out of the corner of his eye. If Suit turns his head, we’ll be making out. This is made even more probable by the fact that not only does Yellow Jacket think he can bypass the line, but he is also exercising his inalienable right to support himself by allowing his whole weight to rest somewhere around my shoulder blades. My rage is flexing its muscles.

Rage Inciter #3: I am hot. And my legs are shaking because I am basically trying to hold myself upright by pushing my toes so hard into the floor that it will cave in and give me a bit of a foothold. But it doesn’t. So I have to resort to this hoppy-jumpy move every time the train jerks in order not to throw myself on top of poor Suit. I do a little hop in order to bend my knees in hopes of regaining my balance, in hopes of gaining a millisecond of rest for my legs, and in hopes of shifting all my weight backward off of poor uncomfortable Suit and onto Yellow Jacket, who cannot hold himself up without my help. My rage is hoppy-jumpy.

Rage Inciter #4: PEOPLE KEEP GETTING ON THIS TRAIN, AND MORE SPECIFICALLY, IN THIS CAR. These are the times I dream of learning enough Korean in order to make a large neon sign I can throw up in front of the doors as we pull into the station. This sign would say, “There is no more room in this car. This car is full. There is no more room in this car. This car is full. Thank you for not squishing the already squished commuters on this train.” So I keep doing the hoppy-jumpy thing, dreaming of my beautiful sign that would prove ineffective anyway. The guy to my right is actually becoming a bit amused by my odd tactic of remaining on my feet and trying not to vertically spoon the Suit. He is stuck so that he can only turn his head to the left. So, I’m pretty much the only thing he’s got to look at. Well, at least some one is having a good time. My rage is healthy and energetic, coursing through me with gusto.

The Suit exits at Samseong and I’m sure he is off to write on his blog about the enraging, crazy white girl who kept trying to hump him on the train. My legs are trembling now. I have scooted to the left and grabbed a handle, leaving Yellow Jacket to support his own damn weight. My muscles are quivering- with hunger, with exertion, and of course, with rage.

I get off at my stop. I stumble up the steps out onto the street. I get to school and the Universe decides to give me the biggest rage antidote EVER. My kids are angels all freaking day. And on top of being good listeners, they are smart this day! And they make me look good in front of the principal who pops in on 2 of my classes. This in turn leads to the owner of the school, who is visiting this month, to tell me she has heard good things about me and she is so glad I came to teach at her school. I just sit back and watch this incredibly good day pass by me.

End rage. Until tomorrow.


  1. losing his hair at rapid rates that he should not be subjected to “the line.”- god you so funny .

    I will seriously think about having a book of 'The yellow jecket man'

  2. thank you! And you really are my perfect man!

  3. Older people jumping ahead of younger people is considered natural here, though, ainnit?

    I stepped in front of my students at the lunch counter a couple weeks ago, saying something to the effect of: "Sorry, Guys, but I got work to do right now and I'm not even on the clock. I am eating and moving."

    They all laughed, however - I don't even think they heard the explanation in the din - and said I apparently understood Korean culture.

    By the way, hi; I don't know if ya remember me, but I'm over in Bucheon. Been here since July of '07, so my contract's almost up!


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