Wednesday, February 27, 2008

stinky in more ways than one

Miss Stinky went missing on Monday, but she and her funk were back in full force yesterday and today. I'd really love for her to drop through a rusty manhole cover. Once under the streets with the mutant rats and the undead kimchi beasts, she'd at least be among her peers.

It's not just the woman's smell that bugs me; it's her attitude. Miss Stinky, who's near fifty (she was recently mistaken for a guy by one of my other students), has a habit of being rude-- not so much ajumma rude as ajeoshi rude-- loud, obnoxious, and generally lacking nunchi, that hard-to-translate concept we might call percipience or intuition or perceptivity or even situational awareness (though without the military/martial connotations). A person with "quick" nunchi can read a social situation and know immediately what to do. Has the mood soured? Do people need refills? Are you sure it isn't time for a colorful metaphor? The quick of nunchi know the answer. Miss Stinky, like many a lifelong pampered ajeoshi, has no such sense.* Perhaps this comes with her being a single landlady: she's in a position of authority, she's far enough along in life to be older than a large sector of the population, and I get a strong feeling that she likes da ladies. (In America, her masculine haircut would certainly be considered evidence in favor of that hypothesis. In Korea, she might get away with just seeming "odd.")

Early in the semester-- the day before she enacted her three-week disappearance, in fact-- Miss Stinky told me, apropos of nothing, that I looked like a cow. While this may be true, I don't brook such disrespect in the classroom (who the fuck does?), and I told her so in Korean. She laughed-- probably one of those "I'm sorry" laughs, but it didn't make her any less of an asshole. Yesterday she kept trying to move the review session along faster (despite the poor state of her English), and today she tried to cut me off by barking "Be quiet!" while I was joking with a student. I've dealt with children like this in America, where smartass students are a dime a dozen, but such behavior is rare in a Korean university classroom (or at least it's rare at Smoo).

Why this woman decided to come back after three weeks of farting around is beyond me. I had honestly wondered whether she had sneakily quit the class and gotten a refund, but today she told me she hadn't dropped the class. This means, alas, that she'll be back tomorrow, and I'd love to take a dump in her pasta bowl during the jjong-party.

She had mentioned that she wanted to go down one level and try Level 1 next semester. Hey, fine by me-- she can do Level 1 for all I care. My only worry is what damage she'll do to her classmates, not to mention the trauma she'll visit upon the poor Level 1 teacher.

Ah, life.

*Exceptions abound, of course. More refined ajeoshis aren't rude at all, but people with experience in Korea have to admit that there's a hell of a lot of spoiled brats out there-- brats of all ages.



Malcolm Pollack said...

Sounds like Asperger's, though that is admittedly the Diagnosis of the Month...

Anonymous said...

"under the streets with the mutant rats and the undead kimchi beasts"

Yeah, I'd say that's a pretty accurate description of the subway.

And sorry to hear about your continued woes... at least they'll be over soon.