Monday, September 22, 2014

Itaewon's final kick in the ass

As I was riding the subway back to my place from Itaewon, I noticed two twenty-something women standing on the other side of the subway car. One had her arms draped limply over the shoulders of her friend, and her head was bowed at a miserable angle. At first I thought she was crying about something, but it soon became obvious that, far from being sad, the drooping woman was incredibly drunk—so drunk that the only reason she was standing was that she had locked her knees. It was around 7PM. The night starts early for some people, it seems.

A stop or two after I had noticed this odd couple, the doors opened at my intended stop (Yaksu Station), and the sober friend attempted to coax her drunken companion out of the subway. But the inebriated woman's legs were locked: she couldn't move to save her life. The sober lady, still awkwardly hugging the drunk lady, tried to move toward the door, and I knew this would only end in disaster. Sure enough, the drunk lady leaned farther and farther, unwilling or unable to move her feet, until the angle was so steep that she began to collapse onto the ground, halfway in and halfway out of the subway. The situation was bizarre and funny and pathetic all at the same time. I and a couple other people went over to try to help the ladies out of the train; the drunk lady, far heavier than she looked, ended up collapsing under her own weight, but her right hand still stubbornly gripped one of the shiny metal bars inside the subway car. I pried her hand off the bar; she collapsed the rest of the way to the ground, and I did what I could to catch her. Someone called out, "Her shoe!" and I saw that the drunk woman's foot was caught between the subway car and the concrete platform. Someone else raced up and pulled her foot out of danger.

But we weren't done yet. The woman had been pulled partway out of the subway, but her legs were still inside the range of the platform's "suicide doors," those huge, sliding double doors meant to keep wannabe jumpers from leaping onto the tracks whenever a subway arrives. The drunk lady's friend scooped her companion's legs out of the way, then hooked her arms under her shoulders and dragged her a foot or two onto the platform, a safe distance away from the train. The train doors and the suicide doors closed; the train pulled away. A small knot of spectators just stood there, stupidly watching this tableau. I floated nearby, not quite sure whether to call for emergency services, until I saw the drunk woman somehow get her feet under her and stand. I shrugged and walked off, melting into the crowd.

This incident felt like Itaewon's way of saying, "And don't come back!" It was a fitting capper to an otherwise unpleasant evening out on the town. I love you, too, Itaewon.


1 comment:

John said...

"Now that's entertainment!" --Cecil B. DeMille