Today in Seoul 26: Election Day

November 9, 2016

How did I spend Election Day in Seoul? I showed up. At breakfast, only Kentucky, Indiana, and Vermont had been decided. Stay glued to the internet or show up for Korean class? Class won. My French classmate was very aware of the election, our Korean teacher less so. After lunch, the polls were closing on the West Coast. Stay with it or show up to the gym? The gym won. Not my usual routine — I walk best in the morning, afternoon can be iffy, but I wanted to blow off the election energy for awhile. At the gym all the fans were gone. Two cool fall days outside meant no fans inside. My heart sank. Really? Do we have make it so hard? The TV in the locker room had drawn a crowd. Most of the TV’s in the gym were also tuned to the election. The elliptical I was on started squeaking loudly. The trainers came over with an oil can. One tried the machine. No squeak. I got back on. Squeak. Another tried it. No squeak. My turn. Squeak. I couldn’t tell them they weren’t going fast enough. I switched to another machine while they puzzled. I finished up, stumbled on my way to the weights, dragging my right leg, which had stopped working. I took my time, recovering as I lifted. After awhile an old guy who struggled to walk (he probably thought I looked much older) came over. “Okay?” he asked. I said I was, and thanked him for caring. “Be careful,” he said. “Where from?” he asked. “처 는 미국 사람 이 에 요,” I said. “미국?” he repeated. “Yes. 네,” I answered. “Be careful,” he repeated. I finished up, walked slowly home. By then the outcome of the election wasn’t final, but also wasn’t in doubt. Election Day 2016. I showed up.