‘Dem Ajumma be CRAAZY! (II)

9 Mar

So, a while ago I posted about the crazy old ladies in Korea: Since then I have not only become used to them bumbling about, shoving past you in their crazy patterned, eyeburningly bright colored attire accessorized by characteristic sun visors peaking through masses of over-permed poodle curls, but I have also come to find their existence rather amusing and somewhat cute – so much so, that I can’t help but smile and recall the phrase “‘Dem Ajumma be Cra~zy!” every time I encounter the darling little old dears.

Yesterday, however, I had a particularly amusing encounter with one. And when I say encounter I mean that I was a spectator. A rather amused spectator.

I was in Kyongbokgung walking to the bus stop that would take me home (I have to stop there to change buses between Pyeongchangdong and Yonsei) when my bus came whistling past me. I went to run to the bus stop to catch up with it, but quickly changed my mind upon remembering that every time I do that, I end up sweating a bomb once I get on the bus. I hate sweating. With a passion. Plus, by the time I cool down it is time to get off the bus and walk up the long steady incline to the road my house is on – which then turns suddenly into a steep incline. SO by the time I get home i’m all sweaty and icky and out of breath (because I am ridiculously unfit).

Suffice it to say that I just couldn’t be arsed with the fuss and the sweating and the hotness ((DO NOT LIKE!)), so I stopped running and just walked leisurely on over, taking my sweet time. To my surprise the bus didn’t move and just stayed there at the bus stop – something very unusual here in Korea as (generally speaking) bus drivers like to rocket off a split second after the last passenger has just about got both feet on board.

Once I got to the bus and hopped on, I was faced with a rather angry looking bus driver who was yelling about something or other. It took me a couple of seconds to realize that he was yelling about someone having not paid. That someone turned out to be a little old lady.

This particular little old lady had bright dyed blonde hair and was sat in the seats reserved for the disabled and elderly behind the bus driver’s booth, a box of fruit and a giant pizza parked next to her on the floor. She was clearly ignoring the driver’s protests and complaints and just looked out the window idly, as if nothing was wrong.

The driver continued to protest – he was yelling (but in polite Korean) things along the lines of “Ajumma! (old woman) Please can you swipe your card? If not you will have to get off. You can’t just ride the bus for free!”. Other passengers eager to get on with their journeys piped up too, urging the old woman to take notice.

The old woman was a stubborn one and dug her heels in by grunting in response something along the lines of “I’ve got all these things to carry: can’t you just leave me alone and just let me off?!?!”

After a while the bus driver seemed to have given up and went to set off, but then changed his mind last minute, got out of his driver’s booth and demanded that the old lady pay or get off.

She huffed and puffed in response like an angry Chihuahua while pointing to her stuff and growling back responses to the driver, trying to play the “i’m old so leave me alone” card. Finally, after a bit of back and forth growly dialogue with the driver, she got the message, grabbed her stuff and huffed off the bus, muttering the whole way.

Now at this point I would like to highlight the fact that the elderly seem to have a very hard time in Korea – a lot of them seem to be working the scummy, low paid jobs in society, which (I feel) is quite twisted and wrong… But, as much as I felt sorry for the old woman I couldn’t help but be amused by the whole situation – usually in the UK it is the youth that kick up these kinds of situations, not the aged. (Plus, she had BRIGHT BLONDE hair – Crazy!) I also had to sympathise with the driver – if you want to use a service, it is only fair that you pay for that service. No exceptions.

So yeh – ‘Dem Ajumma be cra~zy!


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