Scream Train

Public transport is a funny thing isn’t it? Not haha funny, but you know…weird. Odd. Strange. Often horrifying. That kind of funny – so not really funny at all I suppose, but still – often eventful…

I find the Seoul subway is actually quite tame for the most part, perhaps because I am comparing with the trains in my hometown…filled with youths attempting to use your face as a punching bag, and piss-smelling strangers trying to tell you their life story over their first morning beer. The Korean experience differs somewhat. People are just in their own personal space, on their phones or books – generally keeping themselves to themselves.

I’ve adopted this side of their culture; and consequently no longer punch people in the face, piss my pants, or have morning beer. So big pat on the back for me – hopefully I’ll never relapse. Instead I smile politely, pop in my earphones, and either play the Pokemon Fire Red emulator I have on my phone – or read the New Yorker articles I had bookmarked during the day (depends if I wake up feeling like a child, or an adult). Anyway, I basically blend in – as anything else would be breaking strict protocol…

Personal Space GIF

So on my way home last night it was to my shock and horror that I heard a wild screaming match taking place (even over the top of some pretty blaring earphones!) It sounded shrill, rage-filled, and totally out of control…a domestic thing of some description – not my business, so I kept my back turned to it…but couldn’t help but peer into the small window of the door to catch a reflection of the drama…

But there was no heated argument, no back and forth; it was just one woman, clearly intoxicated – yelling, and cursing things out at random. She was middle aged, with greasy black hair draped over her dark sunglasses…I’m not quite sure she knew what she was saying, but my goodness was she going to say it anyway. As a result people were evacuating left, right and center, as if she was a mad hate filled hurricane one must get out of the way of as soon as humanely possible…meanwhile others were just staring at the floor, or glancing across nervously whenever they thought she wasn’t looking.

It was all very very polite, but was still very very weird. 

Uncomfortable GIF

I tried to tune into what her mad Korean ravings were actually about, if anything. I could make out that she wanted everyone to fuck off, and that everyone but herself was a massive prick (not her words, but her actual words were a little more harsh), but apart from that it was anyone’s guess. Until she caught sight of me in the door’s reflection.

That’s when I became the target, something about “English, English, English – fuck off is this Korea, or England?!” She was shouting and balling with such ferocity it was like dragon fire on my back…well, I was certainly sweating like it was anyway. My entire being was emblazoned red with embarrassment, and my palms were so moist with nervousness it was becoming difficult to even hold my phone. I slipped it into my pocket instead, and decided all I could do was do my time…stare at my feet like the others…and do my time.

Awkward GIF

Eventually she exhausted herself – or possibly ran out of offensive vocabulary to use against me, so switched and went back to telling the rest of the carriage to fuck off – instead as well as continuing to remind them all of the fact they are massive pricks, just in case they had forgotten. So back to the status quo then, that’s alright…

But oh no, the story doesn’t stop there my friends! Just as I thought it was over, out of nowhere a dwarf man…sorry – what’s the politically correct way to say that? Not midget I know that much, so let me Google it; smaller man, little person…ah – person of slight stature. Yeah anyway he popped up, and started to talk with her – trying to get her to calm down by a series of soothing tones, and a weird sort of shoulder massage thing (what a brave, and possibly stupid gent!) Unfortunately for whatever reason she didn’t take kindly to the treatment, and unleashed a frenetic and hate filled inferno of insults towards him – so loud that I thought the window screens would split and smash as a result…I couldn’t tear my eyes away – I thought at any second he was going to get a swift kick in the bollocks, or a fork to the eyeball.

Instead as her tirade continued, the man didn’t flinch at all…instead he chuckled broadly and then turned to face me with a wide smile and two over-enthusiastic thumbs up…A THUMBS UP!? IN THIS SITUATION MAN, LIKE…REALLY?!

Thumbs UP GIF

Don’t bring me into this?! I’m just an English guy…an English guy in Korea!

She lost it upon seeing this – and was suddenly reminded of her beef with myself mere moments ago…I span back to staring at my shoes, as the rage echoed throughout the carriage once more. It was then that I realised she literally hadn’t stopped for breath ever since stepping foot on the subway…maybe she’d pass out soon, and give our ears a break…

Well it could have happened, but instead she stood up – gave one last mad Chewbecca warble, before pointing at myself and marching out at the next stop. Phew. I had been saved, and returned the thumbs up to my miniature hero a few minutes later upon finally reaching my station. Thanks my friend, I owe you one… 

So that’s the story, just another day on public transport people, another weird, odd, horrifying – yet funny day. I’m suddenly very tired.

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12 thoughts on “Scream Train

  1. I hate public transport. I’ve see drug deals. I watched as a woman dined on her buggers. I had people talk to me in spite of wearing head phones and reading a book. Who does not know the rule of head phones and books is a force field? One time I was on a bus on a seat that faces into the isle. It was full. And yet more people piled on. A couple got on and his knees were pressed against my right knee and hers were against my left. And they were making out. And I was at eye level with their nearly conjoined hips. Now that my friend is awkward. I couldn’t even look down for fear the top of my head would make it a threesome.

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