Queuing. Patience. The art of just sitting. Africans can do it. Middle East and North Africa can do it. We not only are t very good at it. We also rail against it. Cramping at the bit. Twitching and stressing.
Probing further, I realise we take it as failure. If we had done something differently (arrived earlier? Been better prepared? Chosen that other queue? Not changed queues? ) maybe we could have avoided this. What was the flaw in our strategy? Our actions? Should we have been more charming or more insistent with the first person in the process?
In another frame of mind we might rage against the machine. These petty bureaucrats with their pointless procedures. This damn country! This stupid town! (Whichever country or town we happen to be in at the time).
I notice too that it is recent. I remember my grandmother had this skill. To sit patiently in a hard bAcked chair. Hands on her lap. Not reading the paper or looking around. No phone to distract her as I have now, writing this as I queue. She had that ability to wait patiently. To trust all will be well. Sooner or later.
The very last thing we seem to do – I seem to do – nowadays is accept the situation. It is what it is. Some things take more time than we allow for. No!!! I have do much to do. Every second is precious.
What if we take that wisdom. Treat the waiting seconds as precious. I have been told that the existentialists stand in pointless queues just so they experience that heightened awareness of the seconds passing. This is part of our life this second. And the next. So maybe instead of feeling tension as we waste our time we sometimes embrace it as a gift of time. I’m going to try!