Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Plush Orange Lounge Chairs a Story

This story begins when I first moved into my Office-tel building. My office-tel is cheap and that means that the hallways and residing decor looks cheap and used. In some ways this is positive, for example I can put out my little bag of trash in front of my door until I am ready to dispose of it properly, and no one complains.

But within the chambers of my office-tell hallways lay another tale. When you exit the elevator you are greeted with an open space where the walls are covered with a wall paper picture of a lovely forest. An image that mocks the rest of the surroundings. In this space were plush orange lounge chairs. Four of them to be exact and they faced each other two by two with a small ash tray stand and table in the center.

From time to time I would see other residents sit on the chairs and enjoy a smoke. Never did I really consider it a concern until I thought of what would be the results if someone left their cigarette on the couch potentially causing a fire. But time went on and there were no fires.

Last month, however, I started to notice this trend with the orange plush lounge chairs. At first it was just one young lady but then sometimes there were more. For awhile there I would walk out of my building to go to work and notice a young 20-ish woman sleeping in one of the chairs, and not a lite sleep either a deep snoring sleep too. My first thoughts were maybe she was in a fight with her boyfriend and she got locked out.

But then I started to see her more often. Plus I started to see her when I left my home and when I came back. This made me wonder why she was still there. I made the conclusion that maybe she was stalking her ex boyfriend and was waiting for him to come home. Indeed, there were times when I saw her talking to another man and their conversation sounded serious.

I would see this gal frequently and wondered if she had a home or a life for that matter. We never really exchanged words, but sometimes I felt like giving her a thing of ramyeon to see if she would take it.

Then one day I was leaving for work and the situation with the lounge chair area was different this time. There were 4 girls there of the same age and an Ahjosshi was quite fiercely yelling at them and trying to pull them off the lounge chairs. A lot of bad Korean words were exchanged, but as I got into the elevator so did the other girls. We went our separate ways and I never saw them again.

I figured that these gals had nowhere to sleep at night and perhaps not enough money to hang out in jimjilbang or wherever else, found our lounge chair area and decided to use it as a place to crash.

But I guess it wasn't too long before one of the tenants or the building owner got fed up with it and did something about.

When I came home that day the plush orange lounge chairs were gone. Now there is just this empty square space with the forest wallpaper blaring away.

I kind of appreciate this event because I didn't really like the lounge chairs, considering tenants used it as a smoking spot which stunk up the hallways.

But when seeing the empty space I am reminded of those gals and wonder where they ended up and what they were doing all that time. All I know is that I will likely never get the answers.

Anyways, RIP plush orange lounge chairs.

1 comment:

  1. Ah, runaways and the homeless, two little tidbits that are pretty well swept under the rug here in South Korea. I'm still amazed that my electric bill comes with a picture of a missing person/child every month on it.

    Recently, something that really shocked me was learning/reading in "The Korean Times" (7/1/09) that 'Sex With Minor Not Crime If Not Forced.' It seems that since the age of consent in South Korea is 13, as long as there is no coercion or money changing hands there is no crime involved. I just wonder if that 13 is Korean age and not the one used in most of the rest of the world where these kids might actually be 11 or 12, all way, way too young, mentally immature, and still too trusting and unaware of many of the dangers that lurk around so many dark and disturbing corners in this world.

    The article is discussed on a few bloggers’ sites, but it paints a picture of this country’s failure of protecting their children while saving the face of its male adults. Why this 46 year old “man” couldn’t have taken her to place where she could get some help, shelter, and food, says a lot about this society.

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