The Office at the End of the Hall
There's a certain office at the end of the hallway.
I'm an American, or at least, I used to be. Nowadays I'm just a gaijin wherever I go, but the Secretary of State has requested that all whom it may concern permit me to pass without delay or hindrance, and in case of need, to give all lawful aid and protection.
Rex Tillerson's a good guy, having my back like that.
So my first day at my new job, years ago, was a Saturday. I work for, among others, a large, multinational consumer goods company*.
I improve their employees' English.
And the first day, that Saturday, the office was closed. No business on the weekends, generally, but I'd been told to go to the 15th floor, and that my students would meet me there.
15th floor, mostly dark, but there's one light on, in the office at the end of the hall, so I make my way down to it, knock politely, and open the door. There's a white man sitting behind a desk, and a Japanese man on the other side has turned to look at me.
"Umm, hey, I'm Iain, is this my English class?"
Like I said, I'm an American, and as such, most of my experience with consulates has been with large, shiny, blast-armored edifices with riot vans parked outside them 24/7/365, just as a precaution.
So you can imagine my surprise when the white man said "No, sorry, this is the Borginian** consulate."
My class was at the other end of the building.
My first international incident.
But I was thinking of this today because the Borginians appear to have moved on. The office was empty for a while, two or three years ago, and then they came back, but when I came in this morning, I noticed the coat of arms outside the office had changed again.
Looks like we're out of Europe, we're now playing host to a small Pacific Island nation.
I wonder if the consul gets lonely, sitting at his desk, in that little office all day. When the Borginians were in there, there wasn't even a copy machine. There wasn't even a coffee machine, that I could see anyway.
Does he get along with the company staff, or is his life simply like that of Lazlo Hollyfeld, slipping in and out when the receptionists aren't looking? What happens if the Marivellas get into trouble again, like when that Japanese tourist went missing, taken by the vegan insurgents that live deep in the primeval forests?*** I know he's not the Ambassador, that august (or even september) personage would reside in Tokyo, but...
...come to think of it, what's the embassy like? Is it a stand-alone structure like the US consulate, or is it also tucked away in the back corner of some bustling business concern?
Does Sherry work there?
We may never know, but the office remains, alien soil, at the end of the hallway.****
*I'm not telling which company
**I'm not telling which country either
***Still not telling
****I'm also lying about the floor number and location of the consulate. Or maybe I'm not. Don't even bother, maybe none of this is true.
The new US Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.
edited because I realized I initially used a probably copyrighted image of the consulate in Istanbul. New image is from state.gov
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