Death by Fan

At our motel in Ulleungdo, there are two doors, the main door and the door to the sleeping area. Mother turns on the AC and I close and lock both doors and close the windows. Mother freaks out over the window being closed. I say, “The AC will work better with the window closed.” I don’t point out that she only runs the AC for five minutes at a time and I’d really like the room to cool down.

When I wake up in the morning, the inner door is open. I know I locked it, so it couldn’t’ve drifted open by itself. I wonder if Mother believes in Fan Death but say nothing.


Mother keeps the house hot. Really hot. Eighty degrees and above hot. At night I sleep with a fan on. The fan is too far away to make much of a difference, but it does help a bit. Every morning, the fan is off.

Finally, one morning I say, “Mother, it’s hot. I need the fan on at night.”

“You will get too cold!”

“No, I’m too hot. I am sweating all the time.”

“You will get too cold if the fan is off!”

I nod. “OK, so do you want me to sleep without clothing?”

Mother shakes her head. “I have not been turning the fan off.”

“Who has been?”

Sister laughs. “A ghost.”

“Please tell the ghost I need the fan on.”

Mother shakes her head, “You need to leave the door open.”

I have never closed the bedroom door, because Mother has always kept the fan outside of the bedroom, but I don’t argue. “I will keep the door open,” I said, “and the window, too.”

“You are going to get too cold!”

Online, I tell Good Man about the fan issue. “I know,” he replies, “she believes in fan death.”