Country And Continent

Entry by: aliascath

12th November 2014
'We love queuing,' I said. 'Come on. Let's queue at the post office. Then you'll be really British. It's one of the things that defines this country'.

A queue can be a thing of beauty, motion through unwritten understood paths. Simple queues at the shop; intricate queues snaking towards a bus door; the informal queue where no one is quite sure who was there first, 'After you!' 'Oh no, please, you were before me'. Unspoken rules that you must follow or risk the penance of the tuts.

I imagine a queue as geometry. Shapes that sprawl across the clean paper of a school book. Endless contortions and predictions of size and where, how, when the line curves or bends.
Or a small ballet, played out by dancers who know the steps intuitively. There isn't need for a common music: hip hop on an iPod, opera swirling around a mind, the well rehearsed lines of a nursery rhyme on a toddler's lips, all will serve as the soundtrack to this formation.

'You've convinced me,' he said. 'I'm in! Let's daringly and Britishly queue at the post office.'
Not once, but twice. Later, at the pub, we laughed about it.

Imagine then my surprise when I travelled across continents and found another country with better queues than ours.
In a culture where I had struggled for any points of reference, the simple mechanics of the queue made me smile as I remembered the post office.