Saturday, December 01, 2007


As I arrived to work today, dogs in tow, kids who were early for their three o'clock class scrambled out into the hallway to greet me. Some of the brave ones pet the dogs but most of them, especially the girls, are scared of animals and would jump back and scream if the dogs even looked like they might come near them. I went inside the school to fetch a couple treats from the mini fridge in the Teacher's Room and returned to the hall to give them to the pups and then bid them "Naga, Good Boys!" (Go away!) As I turned back toward the school, I noticed two girls were play fighting, and I said "Hey! Cut it out!" As I came closer to them, though, it was apparent there wasn't anything playful about their fight - the two of them gripped each other's cheek with one hand as they clawed with their free hand. Both of them were near tears. I separated them, and one of them started to cry. I hustled them both back into the school and called for reinforcements. By the time Sunny came out to help, they were both bawling. I'm lucky because my students aren't very aggressive and it's been a LONG time since I've had to break up a fight. It's the first time I've seen a girl fight! They'd scratched each other up pretty good!

Work finished, I headed to the bus stop to venture downtown to contemplate a couple Christmas presents for my nieces. I have no idea what my brother's kids would want. I don't know what they have, either - so it makes it even more challenging. As I waited for the bus and read my book by street lamp, I noticed a stylin' Korean mama beside me. She was talking on her cell, and I wasn't paying too much attention. She hung up and then made a call, greeting what I gathered to be her kid all sweetly, "Hi! It's mommy! What are you doing? How was your day?" she sing-songed. "Did you go to your academy? You must be tired, did you study hard?" Then she went ballistic. "You LIAR!!! WHY ARE YOU LYING?"

I suddenly understood what must have happened. The previous phone call, where the mother had apologized quite profusely and even dipped her head each time she said she was sorry, must have been her kid's cram school calling to report her child's absence. So she called home and the kid got busted for lying as well as truancy. The mom shrieked into the phone for a solid ten minutes, promising to rip the kid's computer out of the wall and toss it over the balcony the moment she got home. Seriously, that mama was going mental. I thought she might hurl the cellphone to the pavement and start to rip her hair out at any moment. If I was her kid, I'd probably be packing my bags and kissing the dog goodbye.

Coming home from shopping, I still without presents for nieces. I think I'm going to send my mom some money and ask her to buy some things that light up and make crazy noises. That's what kids want, isn't it? Coming home, I looked up from my book when the bus driver blared the horn and swerved as we went through a tunnel. I saw something up ahead the lane we had been travelling in. As we passed, I recognized it was a man spread out star-fished in the road. "Shit!" I muttered, turning my head to try to see him as we sped by. I wanted the driver to stop and get the guy off the road, but we barely slowed. I hoped someone would either call the cops or stop to help him. Flat in the road in the middle of the tunnel isn't a great place to be, though I wonder if it might be preferable to that mama's wrath, huh?


Kevin said...

Getting screamed at-- and worse-- is a perfectly normal part of a Korean's childhood. Trust me-- I know from experience.


Tanya said...

Busted by Mom! too funny, but screaming into her celphone in public. I'd love to be a fly on the wall when the mom got home.

The man lying on the street...he just got up and walked away? He's lucky he didn't get run over, or maybe that was the idea.

Jelly said...

Tanya - I don't know what happened to the guy in the road. I wonder how he ended up in the tunnel. The bus I was on didn't stop to assist. I hope the guy didn't get smushed.

lindsey starr said...

hey, would be happy to help with suggestions for toys if you want. also, I need your snail mail address again, so that I can send you a christmas card when I get my act together, and get them ordered! :)