Wednesday, September 08, 2004
We are considered real rebels here in Korea. We cross several main streets on our walk to and from work and oftentimes, if there are no cars coming, we will cross before the light turns green. Well, we have actually had people stop us and point to the crosswalk sign, “Red! Red!” We smile and nod, look up and down at the empty streets and proceed to cross. The Koreans just stand there, marooned on their respective sidewalks, and stare at the “crazy” foreigners who have just walked to their certain death. It’s quite funny to me that they would be so rigid. I understand safety and I am deathly afraid of cars and of being hit by them but at the same time, I would feel silly standing for 10 minutes for the light to change on an empty street. It always feels like a weird social experiment when that happens. Like surely there must be a two-way mirror somewhere watching to see how well-socialized the guinea pigs have become. You know, when you pull up to a traffic light late at night on an abandoned rural road and you sit there waiting for it to turn green. With every minute I feel sillier and sillier. I start to wonder where my willingness to suspend logic and obey rules has actually come from and it makes me wonder how deep it really goes. Then I usually just ignore the light and drive on into the darkness…wondering if my obvious attempt to disobey the rules is really just another symptom of my struggle with convention.