Sunday 14th August 2011

by Megan Beth Koester

I’m sitting, naked save for a paper gown, in a windowless room. Korean language posters advertising cut-rate pap smears are my only source of entertainment – there isn’t even a three-year-old issue of Time (or something equally formerly topical) to peruse in here. I stare at the Korean characters – all of them look essentially the same. I wonder how Koreans can tell them apart. Basically, I wonder how Korean people can read. I then wonder how my mind could allow itself to indulge in such a narrow-minded, xenophobic thought process. I justify said process by reminding myself that:

A) I’m about to get a pap smear for free


B) I know how to read English.

White guilt, schmite guilt – it’s hard not to be xenophobic with perks like this!

Time passes slowly. The longer I wait, the more shaken up I become. My xenophobic victory has faded; now all I have to keep me occupied is the buzz of fluorescent lights and crippling paranoia. There’s no way I can talk my way out of this. It’s biology, baby! They’re going to test the pH balance of my cooter! I can’t handle it anymore. I start pacing. Once I finally hear the door open, I run back to the examining table and try to look casual. I fail. An overweight, middle-aged Korean guy in a lab coat enters the room. He says nothing and slips some latex gloves over his meaty mitts. This is my Korean war.

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