Israel Stories

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Of Babies and Queues

Government offices are one of the ten trials of a new Oleh (immigrant). The bureaucracy, the petty jobs-worth, the lack of air conditioning and most of all the queues. Most offices have a queue and ticket system. You queue at the door of the office, take a ticket and watch to see when you number comes up and then sit behind a desk and are promptly ignored while the clerk sips her coffee, reads the paper talks to her mother or just disappears. But it’s the queuing that is the major problem. People pushing, complaining and pushers-in claiming they were next but had to go and get something to eat.

Then one day I made an important discovery. This discovery revolutionized standing in queues. In Latin I call it Pacifixia Removus. This remarkable discovery was made on a particularly hot and humid day as I waited in the Ministry of the Interior, well not much in but out and halfway down the stairs. I needed to hand in passport papers for my eldest daughter Ora. She was only a few months old at the time. She sat very calmly and quietly in her stroller and then without warning, as they say in bible, she let out an almighty roar. She hadn’t lost her birthright, just her pacifier.

All the people in front of me turned to see what the commotion was about. A kind man said I could go in front of him, then women in front of him said I could take her place. So we skipped couple of places. I had a theory I wanted to test. Carefully and with the utmost stealth I whipped out Ora’s pacifier, the roar went up and we moved forward, this time four places. The office was now in site. I waited a few more minutes and then the roar went up again and before we knew it we were being seen to.

Eliana was next and now Nitzan has now taken the coveted position of queue abuser. She is for hire and is certainly an asset to have when queuing up in any situation. Its all to do with slight of hand and knowing your environment. The supermarket is a perfect place. My favorite bit is the sympathetic smiles and the knowing looks as Nitzan bawls her head off in short five second bursts every few minutes.

Do I feel guilty that somehow I am abusing the system, turning my back on my English heritage, rejecting my in built desire to queue peacefully and patiently?

Are you mad, this is Israel!


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