People will talk. Especially, middle-aged women.
The cram school I work for would cease to work properly if it were not for them. Thanks to their sociability and wit, the relationships between the school and the parents of our students have been good. But this sociability and wit seem never to stop them from talking with each other. What is worse, they seem to be talking behind my back. Yesterday, A maths teacher told me that one of them ー I don't know exactly who it was ー had said that she couldn't imagine me running. I was a bit confused because I played soccer when I was a kid and played tennis in my junior and senior high school days. It is true that since my graduation from high school, I have been doing less and less exercise. But I think I may say I haven't forgotten how to run.
There is a reason that I think explains why people around me cannot imagine me running: I walk extremely slowly in the cram school. I do this on purpose. What for? you may ask. Because as the school is getting bigger and bigger, so is the number of its managers and they are mainly composed of men who are too ready to assume responsibility. They begin to work on a task even when they are not sure whether they have the ability to accomplish it or even how they will do it, with the result that they end up doing it only imperfectly, causing other workers so much trouble that they cannot do their proper job sufficiently and making the students suffer inconvenience that could otherwise be avoided. But they don't seem to care about it. So, I, as one of the managers, decided to be a Jeremiah among these Pollyannas. I decided to say, "This is too dangerous," "That's too risky," "We may not be able to do that," and "Slow down. We shouldn't jump to conclusions." In order to represent this role of mine symbolically, I walk slow.