MADANG - I’m sure it takes a lot of patience to stand in a long line. We stand in lines for one common thing and that is to get served. In other words, we stand in line to receive service.
In Papua New Guinea, you see that everywhere. You see the line in front of the commercial banks, police offices and the immigration office.
I believe it’s just part of life to stand in line. Even when you die, you stand in line to face your judgement. (I don’t know for sure about this but maybe it’s because I watch too many movies about life after death.)
Some people get offended when you tell them to wait in line. Mind you, these kind of people will find the easiest way to get to the front.
From my observations, these people will do three things:
- Cut the line and go stand in front (expect to get some harsh words thrown at your back).
- Look for acquaintances in the line and pretend to go greet them and stand with them in the line.
Back in university days, the only place where we always stood in line every day was in the student dining hall.
Most of us were hungry, but we stood in line and waited our turn to be served. But, while standing in line, some people just walked past us and went in front to get their plate.
I wanted to shout at them but why waste my breath because I believe they will face their own injustices later in life.
Despite the negative things which standing in line can do to you, I also observe some positive things.
Standing in line, I get to meet new people standing north, south, east and west by me.
Just simple questions or statements like “what’s the time?” or simple compliments or talk about the weather can start a good conversation. Such small talk can sometimes lead to friendship.
Empathy is one of the positive things I learnt from standing in line.
You may complain and wonder what’s going on that’s causing the line to move slowly but try putting yourself in the shoes of the people serving.
They might be a new employee. They might be having a bad day and trying to adjust things in their minds.
Whatever it is, they are trying their best to serve you, so have empathy and wait for your turn.
Most of all, I have to say that patience is the biggest thing I learnt from standing in line.
With patience, I gained self-discipline. It also showed me that I have respect for myself and for the people in the line.
So next time you stand in line in the store or in the bank or in the student dining hall, remember to always wait for your turn.