I Reserve the Right to Rage

So, there's a lot of intellectual debate floating around the Internets over this way. Most of it is about complaining expats and why they complain and what they complain about and... well a lot of stuff. For the last link, scroll down to the comments to get to the meat.) It's kind of taking over the Korean blogs. And when I was reading all that stuff, I was like, Yeah, you know, I complain too much. Maybe everyone is tired of my rage. Heck, I'm tired of my rage. Dang, I wish I could retire the rage.
And so I stepped back. I reflected (as I'm known to do from time to time) and I felt that perhaps it was time to move on. But then, my Thursday morning commute happened. And I snapped back into the reality that is Rage in the A.M. and I was reminded of all the reasons I complain. Korea just lined them up in a neat little row and every single one kicked me in the butt as I passed by.
Then, I also remembered that as author and perfector of this blog, I'm entitled to write whatever I want.
Whatever I want:

So, for a while I'd been avoiding metro purgatory like an ajumma avoiding the sun, with her oversized visor and frilly parasol. But Thursday I needed to be on that train, on the same train that everyone else needed to be on. Normally, if I find I'm going to be in the pancake situation (where everyone piles on top of each other like a stack of lovely IHOP Pancakes and their sweat flows and mingles into a syrup that doesn't smell like maple or blueberries), I take a deep breath and step back from the train, allowing others to go before me, and I wait for the next train. But because I am now required to sign in everyday for work, I have to be on time and therefore, I had to be on THIS train.

We shuffled onto the train, with everyone turning and shifting, trying to fit their piece of the body puzzle into this small space more comfortably. At first I was all positive and thinking something along the lines of "Hey, this isn't so bad." Then I felt a punch in my right armpit. I turned to look at who it was that thought my armpit would be a good place to put their hand in this humidity and found myself pancaked next to a reasonable looking woman. I mean, she didn't look deranged or annoyed or particularly brain damaged. However, her behavior belied some kind of underlying issue. She was determined that she was going to read her stupid morning Metro paper, even if she had to punch me in the armpit to see which celebrity is now a plastic surgery suspect. I just stared at her, trying to psychically break the language barrier and communicate the aggravation and discomfort she was causing. But she would not be persuaded. Maybe my telepathic powers are muted underground, similar to the bad reception my cell phone receives in the elevator of my building. Anyway, she refused to make eye contact and continued to apply pressure to my right armpit and the chub that hangs out in that neighborhood.

I took a few deep breaths. They didn't help. But they did kind of expand my chest so that her hand was shoved a few centimeters deeper into my armpit and there was pancake syrup in there folks. So I felt somehow vindicated by leaving my distinctly American "mark" on this small, rude, inconsiderate newspaperreader.
And because my telepathic powers just weren't up to snuff this particular morning, the lady standing behind me, who had reached across and over a person in order to hang onto a handle she could barely reach, decided that she would press her butt into the back of my thighs. Why? Why, why, why, why, why? Why do you need to mush your butt against me WHEN YOU ARE HANGING ONTO A HANDLE? Oh, maybe she just misunderstood my telepathic pleas. She misinterpreted my silent siren of "GET THE HELL AWAY FROM ME" as "Please, anything you can do to make me sweat more, make me more uncomfortable, or hotter, please do it. And do it like it's your birthday."

And mornings like these are why I reserve my right to complain. And because I make you feel better about your life, right? So, it's kind of a win/win situation. I get to vent about my struggle to acclimate to this full-body-contact culture, while you get to sit in your office that you most likely drove to and feel so blessed and thankful for your own commuting bliss.

I got off the train without inflicting any bodily harm on anyone. I wonder how many more days I can get my Rage to keep using its inside voice.


  1. You are a real writer. You make rants funny. And you are that rare creature, a real human being!

  2. I think there is a very distinct difference between raging and constant chronic complaining.

    Once upon a time, I, too was 25 and living in Korea (and dating my Korean boyfriend, btw). I raged a lot, particularly when sardined into careening modes of transportation at 5 zillion degrees and 100% humidity. It's par for the course. The constant chronic complaining? Not so much.

    Your writing is fabulous!

  3. I say Rage away, because you do make me appreciate the fact that I sit in my comfortable air conditioned car, all by myself, and lesiurely drive to work. And without traffic at that. So see? You're making the world a better place.

    And I love the Ajummas. :-)

  4. uhhh...one of THOSE days huh :( The Metro can be pretty bad sometimes too - boys peeking up skirts if you're standing up or looking down shirts if you're sitting down, loud teens and tourists, grumpy commuters...but at least there is AIR CONDITIONING! ^_^

    Nothing like a non air conditioned bus for you to appreciate a car even during rush hour XD

  5. here's how i feel about it. if you spend 24 hours a day complaining to your boyfriend, there's a problem. if you write one blog a day raging about your commute or whatever else deserves it that day, then that is a healthy release! and it makes the boston trains not seem QUITE so bad...

  6. First off, I want to let you know that I do check in every few days to see if there's a new post--you wouldn't happen to know if there's an "ALERT--NEW BLOG BY FANTASTIC AUTHOR" button, would you?

    Secondly, I am beginning to feel your pain of public transit. We do not have ajummas here (at least, we don't call them that, but I am pretty sure they exist), but things do get awfully crowded on MARTA on my way home, and I've been the victim of elbows, shoulders, hips, bags, and bicycles. I feel your pain.

    Thirdly, you are absolutely entitled to your rage! It makes me appreciate my non-air-conditioned lobby with singing attorneys. At least I don't have a class full of snot-nosed children waiting on me after my commute. =)

  7. You could put me on a Google reader and that way you would see everytime I've updated. It's actually a really great way to keep up with the blogs you like to read. That's how I do it!
    And singing attorneys? Sounds interesting! I know the MARTA is rough, too!

  8. I agree with beloved: absolutely reserve the right to rage! Especially if you make them as funny and entertaining as this one. The world needs more spit and vinegar, if it can be poetry at the same time. ("Where did you go, Oscar Wilde? The literati turns its lonely eyes to you, Oo-oo-oo")

    An entertaining rant is fun from time to time, for the sheer drama and histrionics, it can be high entertainment -- some of the best speeches in film and drama were frothing-at-the-mouth rants --

    chronic complaining is just dull and a life-suck. It destroys my will to live, and the people who do it find their number deleted from my phone.

    I think there's a time and place for a rant, and a time and place for a critique, and even a time and place for chronic complaining (into a bit knuckle, or a pillow); as long as the rant knows its a rant, and isn't pretending to be sociological commentary, and thus, can be taken for what it is, and enjoyed as a piece of high drama and entertaining polemic.


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