Impatient Bathroom Behavior
February 10, 2009 — Today I witnessed a human exchange that I absolutely must write down. It was one of those incidents where you’re watching things happen as if you’re watching a movie scene being acted out in real life. I’m sure I had an interesting viewpoint since I’m a foreigner and was probably not being noticed during this interpersonal exchange. I was, in effect, the fly on the wall.
Here’s what happened: I entered a public bathroom. The space was very small and held only two stalls. For some reason, several Korean ladies had begun lining up in a queue behind each of 2 doors in the bathroom. I don’t know why they didn’t stick with the make-one-line-out-the-door practice which is much more popular, but for whatever reason, they each had picked a door. Then, when one line started going faster than the other, this lady who’d been waiting in the longer line started getting really, really angry and annoyed! She was huffing and puffing and shifting her weight from foot to foot. The girl inside the stall was just NOT coming out. Clearly she was in there for a reason. The lady waiting outside her door started knocking on the door of the poor girl in the stall as if banging and knocking were going to make her needs in there go any faster. I mean, some things just take some time!!! But, she’s knocking for this lady to hurry up, and it was crazy.
Finally, the young lady in the stall came out. It was so awkward because she obviously had to come face to face with her knocker and the rest of us waiting in line. She narrowed her eyes, walked really slowly out of the door and just glared at the women. That was it. She didn’t say a word. The knocking lady said nothing and just went into the stall. They were both in their 20s to 30s, and I thought sure there was gonna be a throw down right then and there. But, there was nothing. When I came out of my stall, they were both standing in the mirror right next to each other putting on make-up. Crazy stuff. This is CERTAINLY one huge difference between Japan and Korea. Koreans can have a temper.