This speech is about how staying up all night is not something she does very often because it has consequences.
I had a good amount of interesting experiences when I lived in South Korea and I wanted to tell you guys about one of my infamous stories. As many of you know, I lived in South Korea for two years. Since the country is so small, a 3 to 4-hour bus ride can take you anywhere. So one weekend, I went to the city of Daejeon to hang out with my fraternity brothers. One lived in Daejeon and the other, my friend, Louis, lived in Busan, which was about an hour away. I lived in Gwangju, which was about a 4-hour bus ride.
We had a good time, went out to a few bars, danced and played pool. It’s getting close to 4am so Louis says that instead of heading out and finding somewhere to stay, he thinks we should just keep hanging out and around 6am or so, we can just head home. I agreed. I can always fall asleep on the bus and then take a nap when I get home.
After hanging out for a bit, we get to the bus station and I’m so tired that I’m just trying to concentrate on not missing my bus and having to buy another ticket, so I don’t do my usual “go to the restroom before a long journey” routine. My eyelids stay open long enough to get on my bus. As soon as I’m in my seat, I’m out. Down for the count. Catching the ultimate Z’s. We’re rolling along and I wake up panicked. I kid you not; I have never had to pee, in my entire life, as much as I had to pee in this very moment. It’s customary that on these bus rides, the driver stops at the halfway point for a break. Being that this was a four-hour journey, we would stop at the 2-hour mark. So when I wake up, I look at the time and it’s been 45 minutes!! I couldn’t even wait it out. So I had to use whatever brain capacity I had left over from not trying to pee myself to try and figure out what I was going to do.
I thought about the "peeing into the water bottle" solution, but many things were stacked up against me. One, the water bottle I had was full. Two, the windows on the bus didn't open. Three, even if the windows on the bus DID open, I would definitely have peed myself after watching an entire bottle of water being emptied out of a window. So, after much deliberation, plan A is out.
Plan B, is to walk up to the front and negotiate with the driver. This was not as easy as it seemed. In that this is the most I've ever had to pee ever in life, if I were to stand up, immediately, the waterfalls would start flowing. I had to calm myself (and my bladder) down enough to be able to stand up and walk to the front of the bus.
Luckily, nearly every Korean on the bus is sleep, so I calm myself down and make my way to the front. Just what the bus driver wanted to see, a foreigner. So, I tell the driver, in my limited Korean, "화장실", which means "bathroom" in Korean. I repeat this one or two more times. Do you know what he asks me next? "남자, 여자?" He asks me if I am a man or a woman. What the heck does that matter?!!! In that it MAY have been wintertime and I could have possibly been wearing a pea coat, my obvious bosom would not have been visible. I answer that I am a woman.
In that I know he's probably aggravated that I'm trying to stop when we're a quarter of the way through our journey, I start gesturing towards the side of the highway. I wanted him to know that I was willing to pee on the side of the road. After some more hand gesture negotiating, he nods his head, OK. So, I sit there and wait for him to stop. In my head, I'm thinking, "that was a good spot. (pause) That was a good spot too," When is he going to stop?! He's passing up prime real estate. Using whatever metric he thought was best to determine a good location, he finally stops.
I rush off the bus and stand as close to the bus as possible, just in case some nosy Koreans want a peep show. Luckily, he stopped right next to a vent, so I pop a squat, do my business and rush back on the bus. I bow and say, "감사합니다", which mean "thank you."
I go back to my seat, without Korean eyes staring at me because none of them had waken up and went back to my nap. Thank you Mr. Korean bus driver. You saved me from embarrassment.
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