Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Shocking... part 1 (possibly)

I have spent the past half an hour reading about traffic.
It started with one simple article about parking issues and in the way that news sites often are, I was constantly a click or two away from countless related articles.

One article after another detailing parking, traffic, and carpooling.
The price of gas, carbon footprints, road rage.

I feel disconnected.

For three years I have been outside the world.

Two years in a chilly place of occasional taxis, more frequent snow-goes, and millions of footfalls for short distances. I had a car the whole time, but that car resided in sunny Florida, a long way from my Alaskan home.

I have now been in Korea for one year. One year, yesterday.
I have my motorcycle, it’s fun and almost fast. I can drive along country roads to country destinations.
Out in the boondocks there is little traffic.

When we hit real cities, Ilsan, Geumchan, even Seoul, we rely completely on public transportation. Buses are routed to every place a person might go.
A spider web of subway routes cover the city and many outlying areas.
Trains snake across the country.

You don’t have to drive. There is no need.
Except for the actual feeling of driving, there is no want to own a car.

Sometimes, I think to the future. To that moment when I move back to the States. To a city. To a seemingly normal life. I think about the culture shock that three years away has prepared me for.
I think about driving and parking and traffic jams.
I think about gas prices and carbon emissions, and road rage.

With 6 months left in my fairytale world those thoughts of the future has become more frequent. Will I survive re-entry?

Holy crap, two in one week. This is nearly a freaking record!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Green and crunchy

Last night I found myself in a friend’s apartment staring at a rather large, dead, praying mantis.

It was prone on a copy of “Speaking Korean” which was displayed prominently on the kitchen table.

At first I just happened to notice it out of the corner of my eye. My brain, slow on the uptake required a second glance.
Surely there cannot be a two-inch bug reclining next to me.

I looked away, blinked, rubbed my eyes a bit. I looked back.
It was still there.

It’s wings splayed out in all kinds of dead glory.

I couldn’t help but stare.

My mouth is typically faster than my brain. It’s typically faster than my tact and good sense. Even my mouth was surprised and couldn’t find the words to ask about such an event.

Before my mouth could come up with a comment, my eyes saw a plate of crackers being passed my way. Directly over the pale green carcass. Right over the body.

How do you ask about something so very obvious? How do you phrase the question?
“Please, pass the cheese. Oh and by the way, you have a bug three inches from the jam.”

“Is the Mantis part of your new décor? Does it assist in the Feung Sheu of the room some how?”

As my brain ran through the possible tactful methods of questioning, time passed. The kind of passing that takes you farther and farther from the moment where you can actually comment on a strange occurrence such as this without seeming either daft or incredibly unobservant.

Time passed slowly.
The bug remained.

I left without solving the mystery. That bug might be there still.

(Yes, for the record... you did wait an entire 5 weeks for a story about dead things and crackers.)

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