We arrived in the town at 10am. Mrs Joy was there at the train station again to collect us.
It was some job trying to fit all our gear in to the boot (trunk, if you speak American) of her Honda Integra.
She drove us up a steep hill through a series of very narrow, dark streets. She pulled up outside a building that looked like a seven story cow-shed.
“This is your apartment!” she challenged.
We would reserve judgement until entering. We weren’t architectural snobs, in fact some of the nicest places we had been in Korea so far had looked like shit from the outside, but were magnificent internally. I don’t think the staff of Sunshine Academy knew the meaning of magnificent, unless it related to something Jesus allegedly said, but I’d have settled for adequate here.
Before we exited her car, Mrs Joy decided to have some fun. For some fucking ridiculous reason, if God exists only he/she knows why, Mrs Joy erratically reversed her car in to an oncoming jeep.
I was in the back seat and got a bit of a bang, nothing serious, just a slight fright more than anything else. Herself got a bit of a twinge in her back, but was fine. Mrs Joy didn’t show any emotion, or even ask if we were ok. Fucking battle-axe. She got out of the car to assess the carnage she had just caused.
The guy she had hit got out of the jeep. He was humongous! He was pointing at his bumper and began screaming and gesticulating wildly. He was going ballistic, he had every right to. Mrs Joy had reversed from the curb in to oncoming traffic without even looking. She was at fault here.
I had absolutely no idea what the guy was saying, but he was mad as hell. For the first few moments Mrs Joy didn’t react at all, and then she did something incredibly weird. She took out a large crucifix from her pocket, held it out in front of her and knelt on the ground. She started to bawl and shake uncontrollably. Floods of tears streamed down her face.
The situation changed immediately after this piece of performance art. The driver of the jeep stopped shouting at Mrs Joy, looked at us apologetically, got in to his jeep and drove off.
As soon as he was out of sight, Mrs Joy got back to her feet and resumed her usual emotionless expression.
“Take out your luggage. We will go to the house now.”
This entire incident from start to finish took about fifteen minutes. It felt like a week. I have never experienced something so odd in my life. I have seen people be hysterical at the scene of minor traffic accidents. Sure, we’ve all seen that. I’ve witnessed a nun apologize for hitting a cyclist near St Stephen’s Green. I’ve even witnessed a person turn on the waterworks to get their own way, I might have even done it myself as a small child (or spoiled adult). Mrs Joy behaved like she was exorcising a demon, rather than apologizing for crashing in to somebody’s car. It was just bizarre.
I looked at herself. She had a look of fear and bewilderment on her face.
We both laughed.
Baffled laughter – the fucking soundtrack to Korea.
Next time: Time to break free