queue and ‘queue’

22Jul05

9.30AM. Monday. I step into a rather small carper-stretch room. A long queue. I am given a token and asked to wait. Number 168. And I patiently wait for the red display screen on top of the hall showing the counter number to show up my number. No respite. The display is dangling on 154. I take a safe seat in a chair right in the middle of the room and minutes after I did, I see atleast 10 more people walking around searching for a place to sit. Not finding one, they make themselves comfortable sitting on the floor.

A spike-haired guy in an oversize brown cargo stretching himself out with a wild yawn, an old gentleman squatting his legs unable to sit straight in one pose for more than a minute, a middle aged extra-obese lady taking a corner of the hall flanked by her 2 kids on either side of her.

The display turns. I slightly turn my eyes hoping to see my number. Still far away. The official at the counter is laughing out loud, probably at some joke that his colleague next counter had told him. And I feel like cursing him left and right for making me wait on an otherwise pleasant monday morning and laughing at jokes from behind the coziness of his counter. And with that helpless feeling, I retreat back to staring my surroundings.

An hour later, I read 168 on the counter display. Prayers do get answered! And I manage to reach office before lunch.

That was the scene at the Social Security office when I went there to apply for my Social Security Number. As I stepped into the carpet stretched floor I couldn’t help but give out a wide grin. Government offices seem the same everywhere, irrespective of which country you are in! Queues. And long waits. May be, the only difference is, if it’s a queue at home, it’s a queue enclosed in quotes here.

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