My second-grade cousin Peter sent me Flat Stanley. One of my friends referred to Flat Stanley as the curse of teaching in Korea, but this was the first I'd gotten and I've been very excited to take him out and about with me. Once, when I was hiking on the fortress in Suwon with some friends, I saw a western family taking pictures of their Flat Stanley. They'd taped a chopstick to the back of him, so he was really easy to pose in their pictures. I thought, "If anyone ever sends me a Flat Stanly, I'm gonna do that." So, when Mr. Flat finally arrived on Friday, that's what I did.
Two days later I was on a train headed into town. Flat had already seen a variety of Korean sights and had spent hours on the Seoul Metro System, but I realized I didn't have a picture of him on the subway. So, I pulled my camera out of my messenger bag, then pulled out a laminated paper cutout of a man, gripping it by the chopstick it was taped to. I posed the man next to one of the handles dangling from the overhead railings, lined up the shot, snapped the picture, then returned Flat Stanley and my camera to my bag. Then came the hard part. I had to spend 10 more minutes on the train pretending I hadn't just done something extremely odd while several dozen Koreans stared at me, their faces portraying a mix of curiosity and disapproval. Next time I decide to do something strange on the subway, I shall try to remember to do it right before I exit the train. I like to leave people wondering, but I don't think I'm a big fan of standing captively on a stage before them while they wonder.