So, this morning I’m standing on the back balcony enjoying a cigarette (yeah, I’m bad!) and I happened to look down over at the little park/green space between the high rise apartment buildings. And laying in the dirt next to the sidewalk was an ahjussi (older man) whom I presumed to be passed out drunk. Which is not all that unusual to see here in Korea. But what happened next was.
These two park workers walk up and start hosing the guy down with water. And he didn’t even flinch! After they thoroughly soaked him down without any reaction whatsoever, the workers walked away leaving the guy in the mud. Now, I am standing five floors up looking down and wondering if maybe what I’m seeing is a dead ahjussi. About this time another drunk guy stumbles over and tries to lift the wet guy up without success. But I did see his head move a little so I was glad to know he was not in fact dead. The second drunk then stumbled away, presumably to pass out in a drier location.
As I was contemplating what I had just witnessed I hear a female voice calling “Ahjussi!” At first I thought it was someone in the park trying to wake the drunk, but then I heard her yell “Ahjussi!” again and I realized the sound was too close to be coming from the park. So, I glanced down and observed my angry downstairs neighbor berating me in Korean for flicking my ashes out the window (which admittedly was incredibly rude). I quickly let fly a string of apologetic words in both English and Korean and retreated back inside the apartment.
And that is how I found something to blog about today.
UPDATE: It’s been over 3 hours now and the guy is still laying there in the dirt. I’m actually a little worried about him. I’ve seen some passerby’s stop and have a look. There’s a guy in a wheelchair sitting next to him now. And he moved his arm so he is alive. I asked Jee Yeun if we should call 119 but she said no. I guess there is no drunk in public law in Korea. Which when I think about it is probably a good thing, otherwise a goodly portion of the folks in Itaewon would be subject to arrest most weekends. Myself included.
FINAL UPDATE: At the four hour mark I couldn’t stand any longer and prevailed upon Jee Yeun to notify the police. I was surprised by how promptly they responded. They actually called back to say that someone had called 119 on his behalf earlier and that he declined assistance. Anyway, four cops arrived and chatted him up for awhile. The cops then left and shortly thereafter so did he.