Wednesday, November 02, 2011

The Queue

I am in "The Queue". This is a great South African institution. We line up at the Post Office, the Bank, the Bus Stop - and in Government Offices.
I arrived at the traffic-office this morning with some trepidation because I knew I was in trouble. During idle chit-chat with friends on Saturday night we got talking about our driver's licenses, and their 5yr renewal. I got my card out to check when I needed to renew it, only to discover that my driver's licence had expired in February 2011. Oh crap!

And so I arrived at the building and looked around hoping for a clue where to go. Here's the sequence: Spot the information desk and find the friendly official who will hand you the necessary forms to complete. Look hopefully around for a surface to write on (and skip the first one because the glass on the counter is missing). Get to the second and fill in the form. Join the line waiting to be helped. This involved sitting on the empty chair at the end - and as the person at the head of the line is helped everyone shuffles up one seat. The chairs are closer than my western body space would like. And the conversation is louder than I would choose. But as I look around I see the gathering is inclusive and all are welcome to offer an opinion. We wait our turn with patient good humour. I reach the prized "window of opportunity" only to discover that I needed to have had my eyes checked and fingerprints taken ... at the room on the other end of the building!

OK. Another row of bums moving along another row of chairs. And I peer hopefully into a machine to tell the official where the shaded portion of the circle lies. I am reminded of the passing of the years when I discover that they are clearer with my glasses on. My fingerprints are captured in a computer, and do not disclose any unpaid traffic fines. I am safe to rejoin The Queue.

And in time emerge triumphant clutching a temporary licence and the invitation to return in a month's time for my new licence card. I am legal again.

1 comment:

Barbara Shallue said...

The process is the same here!! Except we just call them 'lines'. "Queue" sounds much more fun.