A reporter went to heaven and saw two lines. Over one line was a sign that read “For men who were dominated by their wives”. There were hundreds of men in that line.
The other sign had a sign which read, “For men who dominated their wives.” There was only one man standing in that line.
Being a reporter, he went up to the man and asked, “Sir, could you tell me why you’re the only man in the line for “Men who dominated their wives?”
“Sure”, the other man responded. “My wife told me to stand here.”
Guyanese do not like lines. This may have something to do with the experience of the past when there were shortages and people would see a line, join it and then ask what the line was about.
That experience taught patience. People developed the patience to stand in line all day, not knowing when their turn came whether they would get whatever was being sold.
Perhaps, it is because the present generation was spared those hard times that so many Guyanese have become impatient. Some motorists run the red light at junctions just because they do not wish to wait sixty seconds.
Banks are usually very quiet places and the atmosphere influences the mood. Even loud- mouthed persons are constrained from speaking audibly in banks. Despite this, one can hear grumblings in the lines leading to the tellers. People complain despite the air-conditioned atmosphere that the lines move too slowly. They are impatient; they want to get out of there.
Waiting ten minutes in a line these days can lead to frustration and at times anger, especially when someone jumps the queue. This is a regular practice in Guyana. You are standing patiently in a line and then someone comes up and forms a conversation with the person ahead of you. And the next thing you know is that the latecomer gets into your space. When others see this, they do the same and the entire line is thrown into chaos.
Whenever there are big events, being in a queue can be a problem. Order can easily turn into confusion simply because people do not wish to form a line and to wait their turn.
A few years ago, persons lined up is disciplined manner to view the body of the murdered, Muammar Gaddafi. One would have expected there to be a mad rush to see the body of the slain leader. This was however not the case. The people lined up orderly and calmly to see the remains of the late leader.
Even though the majority of those who went to view the body could not be considered supporters of the slain leader, there was calmness about the whole procession of persons. Those in line were patient and waited their turn.
The one time that Guyanese seem to exercise tremendous patience is during elections period. The number of persons eligible to vote at any polling station is kept within limits so as to avoid the excuse that someone could not vote because of the long lines.
Yet, we find that there are long lines early in the morning as voters heed their parties request to go out and vote early and late in the afternoon just as the polls are about to close. For the remainder of the day, it is just a trickle of persons that can be seen in and out of the polling stations.
The vast majority of Guyanese vote early in the morning and late in the afternoon.
And you would be amazed that despite having to stand in line, there are few protests about the length of the line or the time taken. People take voting seriously in Guyana, so seriously that they do not complain about the lines.
Interestingly, there are hardly any cases of persons trying to jump the queue. There is so much patience in the election line.
If we can do it for elections, we can also do it for normal situations. There is no reason why people should get frustrated at standing a few minutes in a line for a service. They do it for election without complaining but when it comes to paying a bill, they want to get out of the line quickly.
Perhaps they should try gardening. It takes time, it takes efforts and it takes tons of patience to get a garden going. It is one activity that relaxes you and teaches patience. Other than that, we should simply have elections every two years.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper)
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