Wrong Way, Feldman · 8 May 2021

I want to walk (or run) the wrong way down a one-way aisle.

There are direction arrows just about everywhere you go now. They tell you which way you are supposed to go through the supermarket. They tell you which way to go through the department store. They tell you which way to go down the hall of your school. And of course, they tell you to make sure you are six feet apart from everybody else.

I see these one way and social distancing signs every day at our school. (They have actually disappeared from the stores, but the intro would have lacked something without them.) There is even a dividing line down the middle of the hallway to try to keep people from going down the hallway the wrong way. It works for the most part. After all, the school is housing a little under fifty percent of its enrollment at any one time. But there are those who just want to break the rules and go the wrong way down the hallways. And as strange as it sounds, some of those who actually do break the rules are teachers.

(By the way. I am pretty much a rule follower. Or at least I purport to be so. Still, I am like everybody else when it comes to telling me what to do. If you tell me what to do, I will want to do the opposite. However, if you ask me nicely, I will at least consider it. I suppose it is human nature.)

Another thing (that is only slightly related to the story). I like to tell people that character is what you do when nobody else is looking. So when it comes to those one-way signs in the hallways, I must not have any character. I like to walk the wrong way down the hallway when there is nobody else there. I like to zigzag between the social distancing signs and hand sanitizing stations. And naturally, I like to run down the hallways. (Actually, I do not know that we have any rules against that. I just like to do it on occasion. But that is a completely different story.) I suppose it is not really a lack of or lapse in character, it is more just trying to be normal in a not very normal situation. After all, I like to take up the whole hallway when there is nobody else in sight.

At any rate.

I actually did see somebody going the wrong way down the hallway the other day. One of the teachers was running down the hallway the wrong way during passing period. (And it was not me.) It has actually been this particular teacher’s norm for many years. “Excuse me. Pardon me. Coming through.” She has only so many minutes to get to the restroom, fill up her water bottle, and get back to her classroom. And she is the farthest room away from all the amenities. Well, almost the farthest away.

I wanted to say, “Wrong way, Feldman!” but I realized it would probably fall on deaf ears. After all, has anybody watched Gilligan’s Island in the last forty years? Would anybody know that Wrongway Feldman was a character on that wacky show? I do not even think that the unnamed art teacher running the wrong way down the halfway crowded hallway was old enough to have ever watched that show. So the reference would be lost. She would just reply, “Who?” If she even realized the comment was directed at her. Ah well.

In all seriousness, I do not really mind being told which way to go down the supermarket aisle. After all, if everybody went the same way, there would not be any need for the occasional, “Excuse me. Pardon me. Coming through.” A trip to the supermarket would be a pleasant train of people walking through the store in single file. Or so it would seem. I do not even know that it was that way when those signs were on the supermarket floors in the supermarket aisles. Ah well.

I know that I should be setting a good example at school for the students and other staff members. And when there are people in the hallway, I do. But when it comes right down to it, I just want to go the wrong way down a one-way aisle (or hallway).

© 2021 Michael T. Miyoshi

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