To be frank, driving in Korea is dangerous. Even if you're the most cautious driver in the world, taking extra care to utilize all mirrors and head checks, one can never be prepared enough for the undirected drunks who flop themselves all over the pavement, oblivious to the traffic buzzing at their very toes. Case in point: as I was driving through an intersection this evening, a drunkard sprung out of no where and stopped right in front of me. I slammed on the brakes, so afraid the cab behind was going to crash into me. Instead, the driver turned a little to the left and stopped literally 2 inches from my leg. I felt the heat from an angry mob of motorists rising from behind followed speedily by a truculent bray of horns. As soon as I retrieved my wits, I sped off, leaving before witnessing the grand finish of the symphony, still in full force behind. Soon the buzz of the engine muffled any remnants of the notes.
I quickly kicked into gear and continued on my little journey to meet up with my friends. Unfortunately, me being very ignorant to the roads here, trying to find my way with only a hunch was definitely not the smartest move. Unlike California, with it's open skies and mountain ranges, there are no landmarks to help you gain your positioning. Bothersome buildings stand to cut off any sense of direction. I wandered around for a good hour, driving around in circles, down alleys, just following hunches. As I was passing through an intersection, I spotted Namsan and the tower was but a spec on top of the mountain. Frustrated and feeling hopeless I almost wanted to give up, park the bike somewhere and take a cab home. I couldn't feel my fingers, and I was shaking so much from the cold that I struggled to keep a steady hand with the steering. In the midst of all of this arctic irritation, I started thinking. I felt like I was re-living a lesson I recently learned and moved on from (but who am I kidding, sometimes it takes us many tries to get it drilled into our heads).
I'm the type of person that likes to get from point A to point B with the most efficiency and speed. Not just with traveling, but with life situations as well. I try to be on time and get so frustrated if I'm on the brink of tardiness. Sometimes, my mood gets so horrible, and I hate it when that happens. If I don't meet a deadline, again, frustration consumes. The beast inside me wakes up and I feel like I'm reliving my childhood tantrums. It's actually quite embarassing to think about. I'm sure there are some of you who can agree to some degree, or maybe this isn't you at all. Now, I know when things don't go our way, it's understandable to feel like this, but one thing I've learned this past month (a lesson I will always learn) is that some things are out of our control. More importantly, if you're trying to get from A to B and happen to get lost, thus making the journey take longer, forcing you to suffer (both physically and mentally), you get much more out of the detour by taking in the new surroundings instead of hastily buzzing by (sometimes 3 or 4 times if you get caught in circles, which i definitely did tonight) with a cloud of misery looming over your head.
As soon as these rumination infested my mind, I started to slow down and decided to take a turn down a street. Of course at this point my face was so numb that I couldn't feel the constriction of my chattering teeth. Although I knew this road wouldn't take me in the right direction, I just felt like using a minute or two to calm down and try to replace some of my stress with...adventure. So I went up this road. It was pretty steep, making the climb to the top entertaining. Once I reached the summit, I was greeted with a gust of wind (again, I was already too cold to be affected by any chilling affect it may have had) as well as the blinking lights of my city below. I sat there, propped on my little friend, suddenly feeling a tinge of awe at how expansive the city was. Ahhh, perspective. Just a minute ago I was among those lights, franticly zipping through the neighborhoods. Now, after I had decided to take a break from the anxiety and try to at least enjoy the situation, I could see the direction I needed to go.
Yes, it might sound extremely clique, but isn't it funny how things like this happen and leave us with these non drug induced highs laced with EUREKA?! Again, going back to a pervious post, it's not about the end result, it's about the process. The process doesn't always end up the way we want it to, but no use throwing a fit over it. Just gotta relax a little, take a breath, and take in the scenery. Eventually, we'll gain enough perspective to get to where we want to go, and by the time we get there, the fact that we were lost won't even feel like it was worth the worry, but looked at more as a necessity.
P.S. I've been inside for 3 hours and I'm still cold. Let's hope I don't get sick!