Sure, Step Outside the Lines, Just Not Too Far

Broom of Twigs


Daydreaming on my walk to work the other day, I walked on the wrong side of the street towards my office’s security gate. Crisp white lines, combined with orange cones and poles, demarcate the correct paths for pedestrians. Employees round off the corners of the paths or walk slightly to the left or right of them, but they follow the general idea. This day, I completely disregarded them.

This is the side street. (Employees aren’t supposed to enter from the front, I found out after entering from the front for a whole week.) There wasn’t a soul walking or driving in either direction. The only other person besides me and all the security guards was a slim woman in a blue cotton dress and apron, white kerchief tied around her head, sweeping up fallen cherry blossoms with a woefully inadequate-looking broom made of twigs.

A company security guard, immaculate in his dark blue uniform and hat, shot out a white-gloved hand towards me. “Oi!” he shouted. “Walk on the other side, please!” He managed to make “please” sound like a term of deep contempt, and he shoved his hand towards the other side to make his point completely clear.

Embarrassed, and shocked from my reverie about falling cherry petals and dainty sweeping ladies vs. the macho, muscle-bound, leaf-blowing landscapers back in Silicon Valley, I crossed over and nearly collided with another guard shepherding employees towards the “In” machine. I did a little dance with him, and then swiped my badge and sighed inwardly in relief that it flashed green for “OK to enter.”

Rats, yelled at again for walking outside the lines. It’s happened to me several times. These security guards hate it when you act like a rebel.

About July McAtee

American gal turned Japanese "salaryman" for a while. I'm blogging my experiences as my daughter and I move from Silicon Valley to Japan and beyond.
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