Punctuality

21 03 2011

Korean time is set on a schedule which runs typically and hour and half behind my western tendencies. Koreans just don’t have the same sense of social time management that most Americans I know would consider respectful. So if there are two things to be learned from Friday night, they are: Never be on time, and never laugh at fallen strangers.

When my Korean friends said we should meet at ten, I was standing at subway exit 4 at 9:50. Being tardy to the party just isn’t my style. While I froze my proverbial balls off waiting for my company to arrive, I was at least thankful that I had remembered to bring my iPod. At least now I would be shielded from having to make small talk with the several intoxicated pedestrians stumbling around the busy sidewalks of Itaewon: a densely populated mix of foreigners, military, and native party seekers. I glanced at my phone, 10:20. What the hell. It was at this point that a Korean twenty-something started talking to me, barely audible over my Justin Bieber and Usher remix. This guy was creeping me out. He talked my ear off about learning English and how he desperately wanted to travel to the United States. This was all fine and dandy, but there was something about the ease of his fluency that made me hold my purse closer. He lingered for almost 30 minutes, then asked to take a picture with me. And like any wannabe Korean, I couldn’t pass up the chance to throw up the deuce. After he snapped the picture, he departed rather gracefully; further antagonizing my suspicion. So I’m not going to lie. I looked in my purse to make sure my wallet was still there. The last thing I needed was to be waiting in the cold and the victim of a gypsy crime. Gypsies are masters of diversion.

At 10:45, I called my friends for an update. They said they were going to be late. As if that wasn’t already apparent. But I brushed it off and took note of the trend in tardiness. This was the last time I was going to be on time. When the pair arrived, I was informed that we were still short a fourth member; one who I had never met before, which made waiting for her more irritating. But I had survived a gypsy scare and was now in good company. What was another 20 minutes?

While one friend was busy on her phone, I chatted with the other, who also had never met our mystery guest. Suddenly, we heard a loud slapping sound: the kind of sound human flesh makes when it hits pavement without any attempt to brace for impact. We looked up the sidewalk and a red peacoat was rolling onto it’s back side while holding a bouquet of flowers. I laughed hysterically as this six-foot white girl struggled like a flipped turtle to regain footing. My friend and I both agreed that her public humiliation was best kept at a safe distance. So you can imagine how ridiculously perfect it was when she laughed all the way down the sidewalk to my oblivious friend on her phone and handed her the crushed flowers. The mystery had been solved; our guest was clearly about 8 Jagermeister shots ahead of us. My guess: she had been early too.

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3 responses

21 03 2011
Rachel

Whitney! I love this! I can hear your laughter as you see this poor girl fall, and I’m sure you were unadmittedly sympathizing probably having done the same thing at one point in time. (drunk girl stunts). I feel you learned a valuable lesson: just be fashionably late. I think the girl with the flowers learned the same thing that night. Hopefully she remembers it though.

21 03 2011
feistyfeminist

Another great story, keep ’em coming whit 🙂

22 03 2011
Sebastian

Ok, I’m down with Usher, but Justin Bieber? Really? I’m a little disappointed… Just busting your chops, I’m sure it sounds better once you have a few drinks.

By the way, time works the same way in Miami too, they used to call it “Cuban time”.

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