Friday, 18 September 2009

The Spaghetti Incident

I had about fifteen seconds to gather all of my energy and stand up on my feet. I could see the bus rolling to a stop ahead of me, and I knew that it would cruise by me if I didn’t wave it down. Hopefully the driver would have enough sense not to steamroll over me.

Here’s how it all happened.

After finishing up my classes in Hyeonseo, I decided to go to the only convenience store within thirty minutes of the area that sold more than rice, chili pepper paste, and sesame oil. I had a good thirty-five minutes until the bus arrived, so I thought time was on my side.

Never mind the time I took to verbally tease this absolutely cutesy dog, or the time I spent talking with the woman who was unfathomably curious about me.

At the convenience store (called a ma-teu or mart), I scanned the aisles for something out of the ordinary. Jajangmyun, Korean curry, red chili pepper paste… and then I saw it. Gloriously stacked on the bottom of one of the shelves was a row of thick, velvety, spaghetti sauce.

I grabbed it right away and was en route towards the cash register, snatching up vegetables along the way. I couldn’t wait to show Ken. It’d been a while since we had had anything other than Korean food. I glanced at my watch – one minute. Oh my gosh, I had been so excited about the spaghetti sauce that I forgot about the time. I ended up running out of the store in the direction of the bus stop.

It was a beautiful day outside, and yet, I didn’t have enough grace to keep myself from tripping over my feet. Half-inch heels…that’s all it took…and some uneven pavement. I dove chest first into the ground, skidding on my knees, and finally bracing myself with my hands. It was quite I sight (I think). I painfully rolled over onto my back and rested on the dusty, left-hand side of the street. The sun burned my eyes, and I tried to cover them. At once, I smelled the stimulating odours of pepper, herbs, garlic and onion. The glass bottle containing the rich sauce had smashed against the ground, torn through the fragile black grocery bag, and left me dressed in much more than my normal school attire. I could feel a burning sensation on my hands, but also my knees. I looked down to see that the rough pavement had shredded my pants, my knees, and had doused them in the pungent, garlicy sauce.

It looked like I was bleeding out bits of garlic and onion. The thick sauce smelled strongly of the two, and it was all over me, in my cuts, my shredded pants, and all over the street.

Everyone stared for a good long minute. My incident was probably the highlight of their day, so they decided to take a mental video - no one helped.


I lifted my chin. Still laying, stupefied and helpless on my back, I saw the front of the bus. It was coming my way, and getting clearer and clearer within my sight. Oh no. No, no, no, no, no…

I didn’t want to have to wait another hour looking like I had been ransacked and smelling like decomposing tomatoes, so I called-up my Korean super strength and slowly got up. I limped towards the bus and waved my arms (slowly) up and down in an attempt to catch the eye of the bus driver. I must’ve looked like a deranged bird, with my frizzled hair, torn book bag, and bleeding grocery bag. He pulled up to where I was on the road, and merely stared at me for a few seconds. Then, he asked, “You okay?”

I huffed, and sighed, “Yes…” I was just relieved to have caught the bus. I sat down in the farthest seat back as possible (to be courteous to other passengers), and started to wipe myself off with my small packet of white Kleenexes.

Ah well… It’s just another day living in Korea…

- Jess


  1. Poor you! You must have looked really funny though, but I still would have run over and helped you! So did you end up going back and picking up more spaghetti sauce at another time? Was Ken home when you arrived? He didn't take any pix?

  2. hey hey po jess so sad :( as mom called me in to read your blog i hit my hip bone on the side mom's bed and you know how big and hard that is. so i hope your cuts dont sting anymore. Ouch for a second i thought you were going to get run over, full speed ahead LOL. But hope you guys get to have your wonderful spaghetti. Have fun with that and jess don't spill it this time ;)