Saturday, October 4, 2008

Waiting in line in Botswana

I have been meaning to write about this for a few days.... but standing in line here, for anything, is an absolute chaotic mess...Particularly at the bank. Last week I waited for an hour to use an ATM machine.. When I was about 3 people away from the machine, a gentlemen brushed his hand back and forth in front of his chest (kind of like a backwards wave) telling the rest of us in line, that the maching was finished.. no more money.. For the past 2 weeks I have tried to use many of the ATM's in town only to find out from the security guards that sit next to them all day that... "they work, but they don't have any money in them."

But the notion of a structured line with rules... like no cutting, and if you move from your place and are absent for more that 5-10 minutes you forfeit you spot, those kind of simply things are nonexistent.

For example, that same line I was in at the bank, a woman came behind me, tapped me on the shoulder and said.." i am here." i said ok, watched her walk away and go into a grocery store..She came out 20 minutes later with a bag of fruit, a drink and proceeded to sit under a tree and have a snack about 50 feet from the line.... Then she went to her car, make a few phone calls and then went shopping for a new broom.. about 20 minutes later, she gets back into line.... no one takes issue with this...
You could be in a line and be cut by 10 people who claim they were there an hour ago.. It happens all the time... I find myself getting furious, while everyone around me takes up no issue with the circumstances..

That same day there was a scene at the entrance of the bank because a Chinese man(I think American Chinese) was waiting for the security guard to let him in..
A few men came in front of him, the guard let them in as the men stated they were there earlier in the day.... The foreigner went nuts... screaming how long he had been in line, that it's ridiculous that he let them in, etc.. etc.. etc..
He was getting very angry and I thought he was going to get into a shoving match... As this happened all of the locals just laughed.. not at the man, but just laughed, as if to say..."you need to chill out, this isn't a big deal, you'll get into the bank eventually." That's how life is approached here... It'll happen when it happens and if all I accomplish today is that I stood in line for 3 hours only to findout the ATM is broken, then so be it. I'll come back another day..

As for me, I find myself laughing and saying... "of course the ATM doesn't work....I should have known... "

Today is the Northside Fair... A snake show should be coming our way... I'll try to get some images...