Today in Seoul 20: Fan Wars

November 3, 2016

Remember I told you the gym is hot? I cope by turning on a nearby fan. Almost every workout, someone turns it off. “Someone” is always female. The guys don’t care, but apparently Korean women take their right to sweat very seriously. There’s one in particular — we’ll call her the Fan Dragon Lady (actual unretouched photo above) who seems just plain mad about it… but I’m guessing maybe she’s just mad about lots of things in her life. Just sayin’. To handle Fan Shutdown, I mop myself with a cold wet towel (Janet’s idea) and visualize running in a snowstorm. Today the FDL switched the fan off 15 minutes into my run. After 30 minutes of mopping and visualizing, I was starting to flag. About then, the FDL got on her cell phone (always part of her exercise routine) and quit. I grabbed my trekking poles and hobbled over to turn the fan back on. Two of the 아줌마met me there. (아줌마 is kind of hard to translate. It means something like a woman who’s not young.) I figured I was in for a fan fight, but one of them looked at me and said “Hot?” Then the two of them set the fan up so it wouldn’t oscillate their way, but would blow directly on me. Maybe they’d had their own run-ins with the FDL. About then, my workout buddy 리추씨 greeted me with a wave, a smile, and the Korean version of my name — 캐빈. I did my upper body routine to a Michael Jackson soundtrack, then realized it wasn’t the King of Pop after all, it was a truly incredible Korean MJ sound-alike. I finished up on the chest press, to the sounds of “Smooth Criminal.” A couple days ago 리추씨 checked my weight setting on the machine. “Stlong,” he said.