My colleagues decide to take me out for a meal which in actual fact turns out to be an apology for missing my birthday the previous week. Their reasoning for the event goes unspoken and is only unravelled by my intense questioning, upon their reluctance to let me pay for any of the bill. We go to a hotel into Changwon, a venue which is famous for children's first birthday celebrations ( a major event in Korea). The location is far classier to that, that I am accustomed and is also packed to capacity, as I am informed is the case every day. Thankfully my co-teachers have taken note of my vegetarianism and opted for a buffet style meal with lots of meatless options.
Although we are still waiting for one latecomer, we take our plates and begin foraging for food. There is no grace, no enjoy your meal, in fact the only etiquette is to fill your face as soon as possible, whilst making lots of noise, before darting off for seconds. I try to make polite conversation throughout the meal but I am left with the feeling that their hurried responses are reflections of their inner irritation of my small talk. With this in mind I set about filling my face. By the time the latecomer arrives everybody is finished. The next twenty minutes are spent in polite conversation, set to a background of the late comers, slurps and grunts. I take this interlude to quietly slip off to the toilet.
The toilet itself is a fancy affair, marble tiled, modern hand dryers and porcelain bottles of hand soap with gold gilded caps. I find an empty cubicle and take my position. Halfway through the unspoken act I notice that I am in fact sat on a very space age contraption with lots of buttons and flashing lights. Me, being me, I give no thought whatsoever to the consequences of pushing all the buttons at once. At best I think that the seat may warm up or the toilet will speak to me. There follows a period of nothingness, which in retrospect I would describe as the calm before the storm. I would estimate that this time lapse was 4/5 seconds. Suddenly I am hit straight up the rectum by what can only be described as an jet wash of water (it seems that I have inadvertently set everything to full). In total panic I leap from the seat (I guess you could say it literally scared the shit out of me). With the stealth of a ninja I spin on my axis only to be hit full in the face by the water cannon. I duck, and the torrent the scale of Niagara bombards the cubicle door. I am in a total flap by now and my mind goes blank. I throw my whole body into the path of the the water jet and am quickly soaked from head to foot. I fight my way through the jet and slam my hands down on all the buttons until eventually the water stops as suddenly as it started.
I emerge from the cubicle with much resemblance to the proverbial drowned rat. Things are worse than I could have possibly imagined, my bizarre bathroom behaviour has alerted the other patrons of the toilet, who are plentiful and eagerly waiting to perform their ablutions. To hide my inner turmoil, I raise my head, look them in the eye and positively stride out of the cubicle as if this is my normal routine. I hasten to inform, that water is by this point, flooding under the cubicle door and in danger of flooding the whole bathroom. Undeterred by my sodden state I stride back into the corridor, past legions of first birthday babies. They are alerted to my presence by my squelchy shoe noises and all go quiet. I then return to my seat and try and blend in with the conversation. However my co-teachers have also been drawn in by my squelchy shoe noises and have looks of total horror on their faces. I am forced into an explanation of my shit house shenanigans and expect to be met by rapturous laughter. What actually happens is, they all fall silent and I get the feeling that I have brought great shame upon the teachers of Anmin elementary school.
There is a moral to this story but I doubt that I will adhere to it.