3.1 Spring 2021

March 20, Roadblock

The morning was cold and rainy so I threw on my oversized hiking jacket and called for a cab.

Today was the day– I was going to get my Korean driver’s license!

I crawled into the backseat of the taxi and took note of the driver’s magnificent beard. If a casting call needed “generic mystical Asian teacher” I could give you no one more perfect for this.

The ride to the center was over thirty minutes, through mountains and over bridges. We chatted in Korean about the best cars to buy and living in Seoul since he did as well. My language still has a lot of gaps because he said something about “2,500 won” which I didn’t understand until he had fully pulled through the toll lane and handed over cash.

At last we made it into the even smaller town of Masan, Changwon does not have a DMV for reasons unknown, only to find it gated shut.

“I think it’s closed…” He added in the silence of my confusion.

“Oh no.. what do I do…” I craned around the backseat trying to physically search for an answer but none was forthcoming.

“Give them a call,” he recommended, and I was less afraid to talk on the phone because my mystical spiritual guide was sitting contentedly in the driver’s seat.

“Press five.”


We listened to the pre-corded voice and he looked at me as if to say, “you get it, right?”

I just stared back.

“It said they’re closed today. Only open from 9 to 6 on weekdays.”

Welp. License interruptus.

“Do you want to go back?” He asked, but I had already put on pants and left the house so the day couldn’t just be an expensive round trip.

“Um… how about… can you take me to Emart in Changwon? I can’t get a license so I might as well do some shopping…” He chuckled as he pulled away from the abandoned building.

In the end I didn’t manage to get a license, but at least I found Lay’s potato chips, so not all was lost.

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