A couple of weeks ago, my brother and father had a conversation in which they discussed the differences between female and male styles of conversation. They decided that men used conversation to share information, and once the information is shared, then the conversation is ended. Whereas for women, conversation was a matter of reassuring ourselves that we existed, and that other people existed, and that we were all ok as long as we kept talking (or something like that).
At the time, I didn’t disagree though I felt possibly I should (you, know… as a feminist… ). Were we having the same conversation today, I would simply point to the middle-aged British man from Chichester that I met on my Korean Airlines flight and say, ‘well, what about him then? Is he a cleverly disguised middle-aged woman?’
I talked very politely (non-stop) to him for an hour to an hour and a half at the start of the flight. The only way to get him to leave me alone was to put my headphones on (preferably whilst he was taking a breath in between sentences) and start up a movie really quickly. Unfortunately, he also had an uncanny ability to know when my headphones were slipping off, and would take the opportunity to say something else to me. If I made the mistake of asking him to move so I could go to the toilet, then I would have to have a 5 minute conversation with him before being allowed passed. It was a toss-up as to whether or not it was better to go regularly, but talk to him more, or wait until the last possible moment to reduce the amount of conversation, and then spend one horrifying 5 minute period wondering if you were going to make it up the aisle or not.
Once we got off the plane, he followed me all over the airport, because he had no idea where to go or what to do, and decided I was his own personal travel guide. Questions he asked included, ‘Have we landed in North Korea?’ ‘Who? King John Ill? Who’s that then?’ ‘So, where have we landed again? Itching?’ ‘(In front of the Quarrantine sign) Is this Immigration?’ ‘We’re going to Gate E? (Jen: ‘Gate B’) So, Gate E? (Jen: ‘Gate B’). Ah, right, got you now. Gate E.’ ‘Oh, no, I don’t have that card, they didn’t give me that card, what should I do, where’s that card? (Jen: ‘Its in your hand.’) Oh, there it is then! Oh, look, I’ve filled it out already! When did I do that? I don’t even remember getting that card.’
It was like travelling with a 5 year old. Which I certainly did not sign up for. But, luckily, I heard him order his wake-up call for tomorrow and I’m going get up a whole 2 hours earlier so I don’t have to talk to him at breakfast and am then out of the hotel before he’s even gotten out of bed.
Apart from that and a few tears at the airport (Customs Official referring to the fact that I listed my occupation as ‘actor’: ‘Are those ‘acting tears’? Ha ha ha.’ and then, ‘What on earth do you want to go to the UK for?’ Thanks. Very encouraging) everything is going well so far. There is snow and minus temperatures in Korea (a good sign in my book) as well as an hilarious instruction manual on the hotel toilet (‘After bowl movement press 1. button or 2. (female urine) button’), and every building over here is covered in neon flashing lights, which kind of makes it feel like its ALWAYS Christmas in Korea.
And after all that, I’m going to bed. Next post from the UK.