The Best Reason to Learn to Read Korean

Fighting through a hangover early Monday morning, heading home to change and shower, I raced toward the subway restroom to heed the extremely urgent call of nature. Evidently, 6am is a popular time for reading in the restroom, because all stalls were occupied. Deciding to chance using the handicapped option rather than any other number of bad ideas, I closed the sliding frosted glass door and made it just in time.

The seat immediately began warming itself, a few moments later a fresh scent of pine wafted through the room. This was one of the magic Asian toilets I had heard about and was now experiencing. Afterwards, I had trouble finding a button whose picture matched the flushing motion. I looked at the assortment of colors and shapes and graphic designs of curvy butts and backsides. Nothing matched.

I pushed a big button hoping for the best and 3 seconds later felt a sharp stream darting between my legs.  I leapt from the warm seat cursing in confusion when the sharp stream, now obvious as a bidet, shot me in the face and mouth. It was a rough wake up call, but laughed off as I dried myself and made the next train south. BTW, it turns out, to flush, one must only close the lid.

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