Despite living in South Korea, I knew next to nothing about K-Pop for the longest time. I still know very little, though having some classmates in my korean class for whom Kpop is their raison d’être has opened my eyes to some of the benefits. One of those that I find most useful is the way to catalogue events, news, outfits, concerts by dates with the year, month and day. This the title for my blog post today is 200714, to represent 2020.07.14 (YYMMDD)
Today I’ve been making eye contact many of the strangers as we pass by each other. I do not know why today of all days, but it got me wondering how many unique people I have passed in the 18months I have lived here. Greater Seoul is a metropolitan area of 25.6 million people. Each day, 5.6 million people pass transit using the subway lines alone! That number does not include the number of people taking busses. If I assume an equal number of people ride the subways I can estimate that approximately 400,000 unique individuals ride my subway line every day. I wonder how many people I have seen. 20,000?
7 person per side bench, 6 benches per car + 4 benches reserved for the elderly each seating 3. These seats are almost always full. Plus at least 7 people standing in front of each bench and many more in the entry space? Guesstimate is every time I get in a car I see around 100 people plus the 50-60 that get on during the 30minute ride. Say 160 unique people each way only on the subway (not counting the hundreds that get off at my station). Before covid19, I rode the subway twice a day. 160x2x7=2,240 unique people I see every week, on the subway proper.
That’s insane. which really has me thinking about the minute details of each encounter- even if it’s only in the space of a moment, brief eye contact, a jostle or sliding of glazed eyes past each other. What do I leave behind? Surely most people I pass by I do not remember. Likewise, I am sure I am quite forgettable in the pattern of their day. Yet still I wonder, what do I leave behind of myself in the space of that moment? Courtesy? Gentleness? Non threatening? Nothing? It is good to not be remembered at all in my mind than remembered with as a curse or a blight. Subways are difficult places, especially for the younger folks and most especially for young women.
And so I wonder…how am I remembered, or better how am I not remembered by the 817,000 people I saw last year on the subway? Where is the common courtesy and how do I manifest that courtesy as a gentle being even in the midst of the oft hectic transit life.
Still, 817,000 in 365 days by subway alone. Kind of cool right? Sure, some of those are bound to be repeats but, still. That is so cool! One of the reasons I love living in Seoul.