Around 5:20 we say our goodbyes and each of us go are perspective ways. On Friday there is a feeling of elation because, well, it’s Friday. But last week was different because Saturday was family camp. Because only seven families signed up, not all teachers were needed so I was free to go to Seoul. As I rushed out of the door—my train didn’t leave until 7:59 but I had things to do—the Saturday people lingered in the office.
I hobbled down the steep and uneven stairway and hurried to the bus stop. A taxi passed by and I briefly considered taking it, but if your timing is right, there’s no difference in how fast you get home. My timing was right because a minute later Yeongju City bus 1 lumbered to a halt. I climbed aboard, paid my 1200 won, which is about a dollar with the current exchange rate, and held on for dear life. The buses don’t fool around. Dashing madly between stops and red lights is not limited to buses. All my Korean friends do it and the taxis too, though not as often as the buses. Open road does not exist in Korea, not in the true sense. But its lure remains and when the road is clear for a few hundred yards, Koreans dash. The blue bus dashed to the next stop, over the bridge, and careened around the corner. Four minutes after boarding, I was deposited in front of the grocery store.
It’s very convenient that the bus stops here. I often grab things after work and last Friday was no different. I had one thing on my list. A box of plastic bags for cat litter. Since my friend is allergic, her barn cat is staying at my house with the babies to prevent her from getting pregnant again before she gets fixed. I love kittens but kittens become cats. There is a dearth of homes for cats.
I have six cats at the moment, so I rushed home, cleaned boxes, fed everyone and gave some attention. Then I chopped up some vegetables and made some curry for dinner. Finally I threw whatever into a duffle bag and caught the train. The train rushes from stop to stop too, but there’s no hair raising turns or sudden jolts. It rolls into one station and two or three minutes later rolls out. It takes so little time to get people on and off. I found myself marveling at its efficiency as I drifted off to sleep. It takes three hours to get to Seoul after all.
M.R. Jordan is a writer, editor, sporadic blogger, and lover of beer. Lives in South Korea with her two cats, Bear and Geumbi.
Bear (Gom in Korean) then (above) now (below)
Geumbi (Gold in English)... then (above) and now (below).