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.