When a teenager falls into something, things can get pretty radical sometimes.
My buddy (let’s call him Juan) and I, both high schoolers, decided to hang out at my place one day. We both liked playing games and I had a decent PC with a network in my room, so often Juan came over, played pretty late night, and shared a bed.
My neighbor was a place called Banpo, an area in Seoul now better known as “Kangnam” due to some funny Korean artist who happens to went to the same high school as we did (side note: he showed up at our school festival one day and performed probably the most DIRTIEST dance a high schooler can imagine in front of the entire male-only students and teachers, with our school uniform on as an alumnus of course, and this was waaaaay before his global stardom) and what I can remember is that overall it was a small (all walking distance, 15min tops), peaceful town — too peaceful in fact to be located at the heart of Seoul.
Then the town was hit by PC bang (PC net cafe-like space but designed for playing games) boom. Even at a small town like Banpo, we had seven freaking PC bangs in one block operating night and day, sucking in the neighborhood’s kids pocket money. Juan and I happened to be one of them and of course no parents really appreciated the idea of their kids spending hours at the PC bang.
So back to the story, being pretty tired of waiting for each other at my place as I only had one PC, we came up with this brilliant idea: sneaking out of the apartment after my parents fall asleep, spend all night at a PC bang (they even had a “late night special” promotion for folks like us), and silently come back before they wake up.
Too excited by the idea, we even went a step further. Because my parents bed room was in the way of the entrance, why bother going through the hassle of opening the metal door lock and locking up again once out? Since we were living on the 2nd floor, why not just jump out of my room’s window as 2nd floor shouldn’t be too high and my parents won’t be bothered for sure?
So we did. We waited until they went asleep, we brought our shoes to my room, and jumped out of the window one by one. Now despite our expectation, looking down the ground from the 2nd floor window was pretty scary, so I had to stretch my arms as much as possible to maximize my length and to minimize the free fall distance, literally dangling myself outside of the window. Probably a good 2-3 meters. I still remember the free falling time was absurdly longer than I expected, I even thought during that split of a busy second ‘why am I still falling?’, then touched down the ground with my buttocks. That didn’t really hurt either.
Juan jumped after me in a similar fashion, except that he had to close the window before jumping.
Both of us were out in the street in the middle of the night, shortly felt the freedom that we never felt before (just like Tim Robbins in the Shawshank Redemption), then we rushed straight to our destination, PC bang, and played games all night as we planned.
That was how important PC bang was to teenagers.
# epilogue1: being too excited about our perfect plan of the night, of course we completely forgot to plan about our way back: overlooked the fact that we needed to get back to my room through the apartment entrance and had to unlock the metal lock, which would naturally wake my parents up anyway. And above all, I forgot to bring the apartment key with me.
The next morning we were caught. Juan went home swiftly, and after he was gone my mom had beaten the crap out of me. I was grounded for a few days too.
# epilogue2: the next day both Juan and I had an excruciating muscle-ache at the belly and the buttocks. We believe it’s the aftermath of the free fall.
# But after all the episodes, I’m still glad for what Juan and I did that night as even after 20 something years my brain still vividly remembers. and here I am trying to make the most of the story to promote esports now..