Bless Korea and all its glory but it is just too small sometimes. I know for a fact that I couldn't survive in Seoul, with strangers constantly around to bump you and get in your way. Even my small little neighborhood in my small city feels too cramped sometimes.
Like now. It's fall and the weather is beautiful so naturally I have all of my windows open to provide airflow to the room I live in. Everyone who lives in my building and the neighboring building also have their windows open. One or two floors down they have a new baby. This makes two babies in their dwelling. Have I ever met them? No. But my ears have met the cries of both babies. Occasionally at the same time. Usually during wee hours of the morning.
Every night I hear an old man in the building across from me blow his nose. I'm a big advocate of nose-blowing but there's no reason I should be able to hear him excreting his bodily fluids in that manner. When he's had too much soju I also hear him vomit and dry heave.
Someone else across the way has an in-home daycare. Today there is a demon child in that house. Call an exorcist - quickly!
And last, but certainly not least, I have my own neighbors, whom I very infrequently pass on the way in and out. They do not get a hello or smile from me. On one side I have a family with three dogs. In an apartment that probably only has two small bedrooms max. And they're little ankle biters. The family has some favorite things they like to do with their noise-making companions. First, they like to keep them out of their living space (because they make too much noise) so they confine them in the little entry way by their door. So when anyone walks by the door, they make noise for the whole floor to hear! The other fun thing they do is take the creatures out for walks. But going all the way down to the ground floor is a bit exhausting. They easy solution they discovered: take them to the roof! The best spot to scurry back and forth, back and forth is the big open space right over my place. How convenient.
Then we have the other side neighbors. They're quite new and I have been un-thrilled by their presence since they moved in. There is a girl and a guy, I'm assuming boyfriend and girlfriend in a ridiculously dysfunctional relationship. He's a fried chicken delivery guy. She's a... hooker? (All I know is I hear her high heels tapping at very odd hours of the night.)
These basket cases have a fun game they like to play. It's called, "Let's lock each other out of the apartment!" We have four-digit pass codes rather than keys to get in. So how is this game played, you ask? Well, she gets pissed at him and chances the code. So when he comes home after a night or working or drinking or both, he can't get in. She's sleeping. Solution? Bang as hard as you can on the steel door to try to wake her up. That banging sound just happens to resonate inside my apartment. The acoustics are great, especially at 5 a.m. To get revenge, the next time she goes out to hook (or drink with her friends) he changes the code on her! Ha! Take that! And the process repeats. Almost always around 5 a.m. I must say, he's a much more sound sleeper than she. Always takes double the time to wake him up.
I do express my distaste for their actions, usually by way of cursing at them loudly in English wearing an over-sized T-shirt and crazy bed head hair. He responds quite well to the F word. Her: not so much. She doesn't understand my language. No problem. I can switch to Korean and curse.
Maybe you're thinking, "How did she figure out the rules to this clever game?" Last week I heard one of them attempting to change the code. It wasn't an easy process. For about 30 minutes I heard "doo doo doo" (hi pitch) "boop boop boop boop". [pause] "DOO DOO DOO" (low pitch). Over and over again. Finally I heard "dee dee dee" (high pitch) "boop boop boop boop" "Dee Dee Dee" (low pitch). Much success. I was sure to not be around that night for game time.