Thursday, September 15, 2005

Manner Rant

My school is on the corner of a bus route. It's not just public transportation, but also big-ass busses that transfer bus full of Korea people from somewhere to somewhere else. There are also shitloads of short busses, but they're hogwon busses and, being short, much easier to maneuver. The big "Greyhound" sized buses, not so much!

Underneath my school there is a grocery store. Throughout the day, people park, or double park there. Cube-vans make their delivery stops, moms and dads park their vehicles their to deposit kids at one of the many after school facilities, or people park their cars while running in to grab something at the supermarket or the drycleaners across the street.

Meanwhile the buses honk their horns. They honk. And they honk. And the hoooooooooonk. It bugs me, in the "shit, shuuuuuddup" vein. It happens everyday. I don't look out my window everyday. Sometimes I'm busy imparting knowledge on the youth of Korea (see: screaming "open your books" and "stop speaking Korean!") But sometimes I do look out. I swear, I have never seen any person, be it delivery man, or mom, or soju-buying man, EVER appear remotely apologetic for blocking off the route. By and large I've never seen anyone hurry back to move their vehicle either. Mostly it's a "devil may care" stroll back to their car, pretending they didn't (don't/can't) hear the blaring horn, and more often than that it's an affected macho strut complete with "death-glare" at the honking bus driver. Since I've been here I've witnessed about six actual fights on the street. Four were verbal. I don't like violence at all, but I can't say I don't understand. Fuck you, you fucking street-blocking grocery-buying self-absorbed confrontational asshole.

Likewise you cart-moving line-jumping grocery-shoppers. And you too, you elevator-waiting standing-in-front-of-door blockading-barricading dumbasses. Am I supposed to go THROUGH you to get out of the elevator? (Likewise, subway?)

How about not calling me "fat" to my face, or "deji" (pig) within earshot? How about not pointing me out "waygook-saraam," to your family or friends when I pass by? Can you imagine how popular I'd be with MY friends and family if I declared "Oh look! A fat black man!" everytime I saw one back home?

"Ohhhhh - this is Korea! That's how things are!"

Ok. Right. I don't buy it. Manners are manners, and yes,....they vary from culture to culture, but I'm not buying any of what I posted above. Anything that hurts another human being just doesn't wash with me, and I don't care if it's directly or indirectly, casual, or unintentional. Parking so as to block a busload of people speaks to the idea that "my time is more precious than yours." And, as for happily exclaiming your thoughts about the people around you, that a cultural thing? Still I don't buy it. I read another post here today, and it got me thinking. I've been lucky (or unlucky) because I've been in the same little place for so long, the locals have stopped commenting on how strange I seem, but I get a full frontal attack once I'm out and about downtown. Whatever. Bottom line, manners,...and it's not cool.

I'll employ my university learned rhetorical skill of pathos, and ask you how cool it would be for me to fly to New Orleans and walk around exclaiming "You're black! And you're poor! And homeless!"

Just to add fuel to my fire, a very nice woman, whose blog I really enjoy, referred to people who stole her nice friend Marcy's purse as "poopy-pants." Huh? Rachel gently peppers her blog with the verbotten word "fuck." Why not call a spade a spade, and say "purse thieving mother fuckers?" I'm just saying, rude is fucking rude.

Rant over.

1 comment:

RLB said...

I just found you, I know this post is pretty old, but I have a comment!
Korean manners are still one of the hardest things to accept - after fours years! It makes me craaaaaazy trying to live in Seoul sometimes. It's hard knowing where the line between "culturally sensitive" and just plain annoyed should be.