Good Man and I are in Jejudo, the Korean Hawaii. (So they say. It’s beautiful, but it’s not Hawaii.) Good Man’s Mother thinks he’s at some computer conference.
Last night at the airport I saw something I hope to never see again.
Ajummas, technically, are middle aged women. Ajummas as most people use the term are loud, square-shaped women with the same ajumma perm, ajumma visors, ajumma sun masks that make them look like birds, and ajumma clothes. (Patterned cotton/poly pants and shirts, patterns not matching.) They’ll hit you with their umbrellas, push you to get on the subway first (even when their are tons of open seats), and yell at you if you’re doing something they think is wrong.
(Side note on the last point: In my apartment complex we can only bring paper recycling out on the 9th, 19th, 29th of the month. We came to Jejudo yesterday, and we get back the 31st, which is the same day I need to have everything out of my apartment. So I brought out the paper recycling yesterday. On my way to the recycling area, so ajumma started screaming at me.
I just stopped, waited until she was done. She shook her head and starting complaining about how foreigners don’t learn Korean. I said, in Korean* “Yes, I understand. But Saturday I’m moving. And today until Saturday I’m going to Jejudo. So I’m doing it today!”
Well, that shut her up.)
So last night at the airport, I went into the restroom to find 6 stalls and about 25 ajummas. Were the ajummas in line? Nooooo, this is Korea, and a single line in a room full of ajummas would make too much sense!
Instead, there were ajummas in front of each stall. So we basically had 6 ajumma lines. I stood behind all of them, trying to be the start of one normal non-ajumma line.
The ajummas would exit the stalls, pants still down around their knees, all cackling and talking to each other. If you’ve never heard an ajumma cackle, consider yourself lucky. An ajumma cackle is grown-up agasshi wining combined with a chicken clucking with a hint of witch in it.
They’d start tucking themselves into their pants (yes, themselves, no, not their clothes, themselves), but none of them would actually move out of the doorway so that their ajumma friends could use the toilet. No, they were just showing off their ajumma underwear to their ajumma friends in their ajumma visors with their ajumma perms in what had clearly become the ajumma bathroom.
Finally, a stall opened up. The first stall. The one closest to me. There were no ajummas in front of this door, so I looked at the next one, expecting her to change lines. She didn’t move, so I started to walk toward the stall only—
To be rammed in the shoulder by the ajumma standing behind me in line.
I left the bathroom and found Good Man.
“I need to find another bathroom because I am not an ajumma. And luckily, I am not Korean, so I will never become an ajumma. I think this is why you love me.”
He nodded very seriously.
Now, speaking of clueless, I was looking for information about the Jejudo Sex Museum and Yahoo is now automatically opening up Korea Yahoo. So I typed in “Jejudo Sex Museum” and a screen popped up telling me I had to enter my Korean ID number to prove I was over 19. I suppose this is a way to prevent youngsters from looking at things they shouldn’t be looking at. I went to the US Yahoo site, typed in the exact same thing, and got what I wanted. Try again, Korea…