Waiting in Line

Today I went to apply for my d-visa to Bulgaria. We arrived at the Bulgarian consulate in Istanbul at 850, for the doors to open at 9am. By the time we figured out that we couldn’t figure out the buses and walked there, there was already quite a crowd gathered in front of the door. People crowded in towards the door from every direction, and whenever the door opened there was a swelling towards it, pushing from behind and on the sides. I tried to join in with the crowd, but within fifteen minutes I had too much of the pushing, selfishness, and what I deem to be just plain rudeness, and I stepped aside to let the boy deal with it on his own. Had I been there alone I probably would have just gone home.
By now the lack of lines in this area of the world should be something that I am more or less used to, and in theory I am. But the experience of it is something completely different, and I am not really sure if it is because I am submissive or because I was not raised in such a culture, but I do not think that I will ever enjoy the experience, or even be able to endure it. I find myself disgusted, a bit hopeless, and very frightened/anxious when I am caught in one of those swells. Mostly it is disgust though.
I sometimes wonder if more dominant people find these crowds thrilling or exciting. Perhaps they like the opportunity to exert their power. Perhaps they enjoy the challenge of it, and the reward of being first based on the merit of their ferocity as opposed to a fair distribution of time and investment. Or maybe I am wrong in that regard and everyone actually hates it just as much as me. But lines are fragile things. All it takes is one person to disregard the order, and it sets a precedent for it, until eventually you are stupid if you even try to wait your proper, “turn.” I wonder if people in Bulgaria and Turkey have ever waited in lines, and the lines have collapsed due to lack of upkeep, or perhaps they never made it this far east. Nikola is adamant that there are proper lines in Bulgarian banks, but I have yet to see them. There was once a line at the post office. About half of the people respected it and the rest just pushed ahead. I eventually got to the front through waiting, but it took me thirty minutes longer than it should have. There was also once a line for free kebabche in Plovdiv, and people stayed in their order, but there was a constant physical pressure from behind, against my back and shoulders, kicking at my calves, and I quickly got out of that line.
I want to be culturally sensitive. I want to have compassion and not to judge. But in this regard, above all others, I find it difficult to the point of impossible. For that reason I make Nikola deal with most of the bureaucracy. If it ever came to a game of patience, I would wait for him… so for now, I am demanding that he play the game of pushing for me.

0 Replies to “Waiting in Line”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *