Today I left school a few minutes late. I had gotten distracted working on Carl and Monica's adventure plans and lost track of time. Little did I know that this slight change in my routine would throw me into bizarro world.
My school is closer to the Line 2 side of Jamsil than the Line 8 side. This means that when I go home I have to go down the steps onto the Line 2 platform, walk down a long hallway, and then go down the steps to the Line 8 platform. The hallway is often lined with little old ajummas selling things- ranging from gaudy jewelry to dog clothing to fresh vegetables. I am often accosted with the smell of ginseng being peeled, or some equally offensive natural odor. As I walked down the hallway today, minding my own business, I couldn't help but notice that it smelled worse than normal. Oh man, it smelled really bad. It smelled exactly like someone had opened a baby diaper in the middle of the walkway. Looking around me, I spotted the likely culprit: an old man, kind of staggering, walking like he had a load in his pants. Sure enough after I passed him the smell wasn't nearly so bad.
About 100 feet later, I started walking down the last flight of stone stairs to get me to the Line 8 platform. I've been here so long that I'm actually becoming Korean and I was walking directly down the center of the staircase, when suddenly a flurry of activity to my right catches my eye. I turn my head to see the old man from the hallway, moving quickly down the steps. Suddenly he lost his footing, hurtled forward, and fell down about half a flight. He easily tumbled down 6-7 steps, landing as his head hit the stone floor and pillar in the middle of the staircase. It was terrible. There were a few gasps, but none as loud as mine as I walked over to make sure he was okay. He sat up and I could see that he was drunk, with makkolli dribbled down his shirt. He thanked me repeatedly in English, gripping my hand and standing up. He held on to me as we walked down the final flight of stairs, and kept repeating things over and over in Korean while keeping a vise like grip on my arm. I asked if he wanted to sit down, and gestured towards some benches, but I don't think he really understood me.
Then he stopped, pulling me away from the boarding area for the train, gave me a big drunken hug (that was a little too hard and lasted a little too long to be comfortable) and a wet kiss on the cheek before finally releasing me. Please note that this entire time I was being stared at by 20-30 Koreans, none of whom made any move to help (either him or me) at any point, but instead watched us like we were on some episode of a Korean drama. Please also note that I am 87% sure that he had, in fact, crapped his pants.
I scurried off to the train and made use of my Bath and Body Works pocket sized anti-bacterial gel (thanks Mom!). Hopefully the man is okay and doesn't have any lasting injuries. Hopefully this was a once in a lifetime experience.
Hopefully tomorrow's trip home will be a little less eventful.