I learned something this morning.
I have a pet peeve: those cars that drive through the crosswalk even after the light has changed, and people are on the crosswalk (though maybe not where THEY are yet) really bug me. I know a kid who was killed in a vehicle/pedestrian accident, so every time I see a car disregarding pedestrian-related traffic laws, somewhere inside me I think "Killer!"
Sometimes, when the light changes green, I head out into the crossing zone as fast as I can, just to block those jerks from running the crosswalk -- it's my own personal, petty vendetta. . . but I'm RIGHT, dammit! They DESERVE me jumping in front of their car and glaring accusingly if they're going to disregard traffic laws and endanger pedestrians! I always wanted to give one of those cars a smack, just to make some noise and say "Don't be a jerk!" to the drivers (it never really occurred to me that the only thing I'd REALLY communicate to the driver might be "I'M a jerk". . . but that's beside the point.)
Well, today, I had my chance. I bolted out into the crosswalk, and some jackass in a black car took a run at the crossing zone. I was close enough that I planted a big, noisy handprint on the back of the car, and I felt a tingle of satisfaction (and a bit of disbelieving "I can't believe I actually did that) slide up my spine and massage my scalp.
But here's the thing: now that I've gotten my ya-ya's out, and expressed myself noisily and rudely on this guy's trunk (do bear in mind that this is the big city, where contact is common. You get bumped on the subway, toes get stepped on, people don't say excuse me -- me slapping a car here is not as egregious a break in protocol as it would be in a small town in Southern Ontario, for example, where Joe Crosswalk might climb out of his car and jersey me if I slapped his jackass SUV, but it's STILL more, um, communication with strangers than is common here), I realized, walking away from the intersection, that carrying this self-righteous vendetta around in me, and the spike of annoyance I allow myself to have when I see some jerk (even bus drivers will do it) disrespect a pedestrian zone. . . it doesn't hurt the twit driving the car at all. The only person it hurts is me, and my peace of mind. The fact I was in the right (at least partly) doesn't justify my answering his jerkousity with a bit of my own; in fact, by allowing HIS crassness to change MY behaviour (or even my attitude), I'm giving that driver power over me! Why on EARTH would I want to do that? Last time I heard my dad preach, he said, "Harboring bitterness is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die." (does anyone have a source for that quote?), and I realized that I was basically doing the same thing by letting these yahoos get to me.
So I may still barrel into crosswalks, but I'm not going to let these dumb drivers under my skin anymore.
Today I climbed Namsan (Nam Mountain) in the dead center of Seoul, with Girlfriendoseyo, the wonderful woman I've been dating. We had a really nice time, and a great talk. At the top of the mountain, at a lookout point, we saw this:
The whole chain-link fence was laced through with padlocks, with writing on them. I don't know the exact meaning, or where this tradition/superstition/fad came from, but it was sure neat -- from what I can tell by looking at them, couples have been writing their names on the padlocks and then looping them through the fence, probably as some kind of a "staying together" sort of charm. It was neat seeing them all. Maybe next time we climb Namsan together, we'll bring up a padlock, too.
Can any of my readers tell me what that says? Any Korean-speakers out there?
Also up on the mountain, we came across a VERY brave chipmunk:
Girlfriendoseyo got right in close, and the little stinker didn't flinch a bit.
My camera was about a foot and a half away from the little nut-muncher in this picture.
I've been climbing all the mountains I can get my feet on lately, and taking stairs instead of elevators. It really makes me feel good. I'm happy. . . and having fun. And Girlfriendoseyo's great.
Hope you're all well too.
Happy Canadian thanksgiving.