It has been said that “disaster brings out the best in people.” I’m not sure if that’s true – I had a bad hair day recently and it made me pretty irritable. However, I do know for a fact that the subway brings out the worst in Koreans. They push, they shove, they stare, they fall asleep and put their heads on your shoulder, the men grope girls (so I’ve been told), and some of them bitch at you and your friends for being too loud. Outside of the subway, I’m sure they’re good people. On the subway, though, they turn into bastards.
In other words, there are cultural differences.
The same goes for the bus. Here’s a fun clip of a western guy losing it on an old Korean man. I feel his pain. And I see those rocks.
This morning I had plans to meet a friend in Insadong for coffee. I was on the Orange Line, minding my own business, when a Korean dude who had to be at least sixty or seventy years old put his hand on my back and gave me a little shove. He was trying to move from his seat to an open seat in the row across from him. I’m not sure why. All I know is that his bony little arm gave me a small push and I didn’t like it much. Did I say anything? Of course not. Old men and women push and shove me around on the subway like we’re in a mosh pit. I was cool and brushed it off.
Anguk Station was up next, so I moved over towards the doors. This was my stop. There were some Koreans crowded around the doors and I stood back behind them. While I was thinking about something important, like my hair, perhaps, I was pushed to the side again. I looked over to see the same old Korean guy shuffling past.
“That motherfucker,” I thought. “That’s the second time this fucking guy did that.”
Since he was seventy, it seemed wrong to be too angry about it. Still, I was annoyed. What gave this guy the right to push me out of his way? Where was he going? What kind of hurry could he possibly have been in – at the speed he was moving, it would take him at least a half an hour just to get out of the subway station.
I was really annoyed and I decided I had to do something. After the doors opened and we poured out onto the subway platform, I quickly walked up to him so that we were next to each other. Right before I passed him, I snuck him with a quick elbow to the forearm. It was a good shot and I was pleased. Hopefully it didn’t go unnoticed. After I delivered my cheap shot, I walked away and went up the staircase, feeling satisfied but simultaneously guilty for hitting a senior citizen.
I met up with my friend a few minutes later. “I just had a really weird experience with an old blind guy on the subway,” she said, looking slightly shaken. It didn’t surprise me. Old. Blind. What excuse will they come up with next for their behavior? We got the heck away from that subway and ordered Vanilla Lattes at Starbucks, where we listened to Christmas music and talked about bad TV shows.