The other day, I was explaining to a co-teacher, which is the korean instructor teaching the other half of our daily content, that i thought it was rather strange that all streets don’t have sidewalks here.
She just stared, and not a polite stare, not that they ever are, but this was a does not compute type of stare. It’s something of a daily occurence, so I’m going out on a limb and defining it as a cultural staple, here on this little peninsula sandwiched between China and Japan.
Getting nothing, I went on to explain that sometimes you’re walking straight through a parking lot (the sidewalk), or down some Frankenstein version of a half alleyway, half interstate, half flea market; think that first scene from the Gremlins (also the sidewalk). You know the one. Luckily Hollywood wasn’t using slapstick stereotypes for once, you can honestly buy a whole lot of whatever-the-fuck; all you need to do is turn left at the neon signs! ***they’re everywhere, there is no non-neon section***
Still, getting nothing from her, I trudged on. I told her about the times you walk past those steele poles cemented into the ground that block cars; AKA the fucking sidewalk.
Maybe this is my Americanized brain, but to me, they make a pretty in your face impression that you shouldn’t drive shit here! Cause hey, you’re gonna be mowing down unassuming pedestrians. Mind you, when I say unassuming, I really mean rude, opened mouth coughing grandmas that don’t hesitate to cut you the fuck off...stature be damned. If you’re lucky, they’ll just soul stare you for unusually long period of time, think 30 seconds plus, like some succubus out of a Greek myth.
But let’s rewind from that tangent, it turns out that those steele poles, the one’s I so ignorantly thought to be a barricade for motorized vehicles, were nothing more than starting blocks; assuming you have enough creativity and handle control, which apparently applies to every McDonalds delivery Mo-Ped....yes, I said McDonalds delivery Mo-Ped.
Without skipping a beat, or giving a smirk, my co-teacher looked into the depths of my being, like one of those wrinkly 90 year old ladies, and asked; “what’s a sidewalk?”
It all hit me at once, like one of those speeding Value Meals on Wheels. One’s who's drivers are more concerned with lighting up that next Virginia Slim cigarette, all the while weaving through pedestrian filled mini-roads.
I just stopped the charade of miming English words with actions, like a shittier version of Charlie Chaplin, minus the Hitler stache. Instead, I just let it go.
I did, however, come to appreciate that Sidewalks in the United States (notice sidewalk is a proper noun now) don’t apply to delivery drivers with a death wish, because yes Mr. Silverstein, I did find where the sidewalk ends...it ends in Busan.