Asian studies in Lithuania
Original language: Korean
Translated from: Korean
Authors: Kim Youngha
Translated by: Jinseok Seo
Full translated source bibliographical description:

Kim Youngha, Elibeiteoe kkin geu namjaneum eotteokke doeeotna, Seoul: Munhakgwa Jiseongsa, 1999

Published in: Vilnius
Published on: 2002
Publisher: Baltos lankos

“Whatever Happened to the Guy Stuck in the Elevator” describes a morning in which everything goes wrong for the story’s first person protagonist, a young, single, apartment- dwelling businessman. His razor breaks after he has shaved only half of his face, and he is forced to take the stairs down from his 15th floor apartment because the elevator is jammed. On the 5th floor he discovers a man stuck in the elevator and promises to get help. He finds no one at the security window, so he asks people waiting with him for the bus if he can use their cell phones to call 911. He thinks at this juncture, “I’ve got to get a cell phone…I realized that this was the first time I’d ever regretted not owning one” . No one responds to his requests, and when his bus arrives he finds that he has forgotten his wallet. As he’s asking the driver to let him pay the next day, a truck hits the bus, topples the passengers, and kills the driver. When the police arrive, the protagonist tells them about the man stuck in the elevator, but they are unconcerned. A free bus ride is provided for the victims of the crash, and on this ride the protagonist’s bad day continues as he is unjustly accused of grouping the woman next to him and is forced to leave the bus and run the rest of the way to work. Once there, he finds himself trapped in the elevator with a young woman who is obviously not comfortable to be stuck there with him. He is finally able to get her out of the elevator on his shoulders, but she, ironically, fails to send help back for him. When a maintenance person finds him and lets him out, he hurries to his office to make his “important” presentation on how to improve toilet paper use efficiency. His ideas are rejected, and he is told to do more research on the subject. It’s afternoon by the time he is able to call 911 to report the man stuck in the elevator, and he can’t tell whether the answering service has taken him seriously or not. When he arrives home after work, the elevator in his apartment building is no longer stuck, but no one he questions has heard anything about the man who had been stuck in it. To end the day on the same note as he had begun it, he finds that there is no hot water for his shower, and he also finds himself plagued by the question of what happened to the “guy on the elevator.”

Initiators of the project: Japan foundation VDU