Friday, October 26, 2007

throwing water on the floor

I went out for about an hour or so to hit the bank and grab a very late lunch. Upon my return, I found our office, Room 302, empty... and a huge puddle of water on the floor. Judging by the splash pattern, it looked as though someone had either spilled or thrown the water. Not wanting to slip on the hazardous surface, I grabbed a mega-sized roll of toilet paper (one of those huge dispenser rolls from the restroom down the hall) and began mopping the floor.

A couple hours later, one of the Korean teachers returned, so I asked her about the spill. She explained that her buddy, the other Korean teacher in our office, had deliberately splashed water across the floor... to increase the humidity level. "Instead of using a humdifier, see?" said my interlocutor. According to her, this is a common practice among Koreans, usually done when they assume no one else will be in the room (the water-throwing teacher must have assumed I wouldn't be back).

This leads to the question of why someone would do this on a Friday night. If, presumably, no one is here over the weekend, what benefit will people receive from the spilled water? I imagine the paint must breathe a sigh of relief at the extra infusion of humidity, but I'm pretty sure my female Aquarius wasn't throwing water to benefit the walls.

I've seen Koreans using hoses and watering cans to water the streets in front of their apartments, shops, and restaurants. Back in undergrad, my Korean teacher said that this dates back to an old villageois habit of watering the roads in the morning to keep the dust from rising. I can therefore understand why Koreans seem intent on watering asphalt. But throwing water onto a tile floor? For humidity's sake?

Comments on this bizarre phenomenon are welcome.



Jelly said...

I don't know much about humidifying a place with water on the floor. Sounds strange, but I can't say I'm surprised.
At our school, the way they clean the bathrooms is to fill up one of those plastic basins and throw water EVERYWHERE. Or maybe they're not trying to clean it. Maybe it's way dry in there. Actually, I've seen them do the same thing in the Lotteria washroom jsut before they close, too. Last winter I wasn't pleased at all when I had to sponge dry the toilet, get the bottom of my pants all wet, and barely avoided wiping out on the restaurant tile once I'd exited the bathroom.
I know about the watering down of the streets, too. I've almost been doused as I walked past! (Most recently was last week as I rounded a corner and just managed to jump back and avoid the wave that was being tossed out the door by some guy.) I laughed, but surely wouldn't have been as pleasant if I was sopping wet.

Anonymous said...

Why dhon't they just get a humidifier?


R said...

This is one of those Koreanthings(along with fan death)that makes absolutely no sense...

You know most Chinese will only drink warm or hot water because they believe cold water makes you sick.

...but our culture is thousands of years old...