Lesson #11: Please Wait Your Turn…

Standing in line, anywhere really, but let’s say at the pharmacy, be aware of your surroundings. Almost as a guarantee there will be a little old lady inside standing off to the side of the counter, appearing to be looking for something. You’ll get in line to claim your medication and all of the sudden the little old lady is inching closer, touching you almost. Before you know it you’ll be staring straight at her back.

I generally find myself completely baffled, at a loss for words in this situation. Based on the way that she was inching her way around me, I can only assume she thought she was being sneaky. The only problem? Her little trick would only have been sneaky had I been blind! Is it so common to simply not notice a new person standing directly in front of you? I don’t know if they think they can get away with it because they are pushing ninety or if they just think that they deserve to go first, all the time. Either way, that doesn’t fly in my book.

Now, of course there is some assimilation that needs to take place when you decide to live in a different country, you have to accept the fact that all the norms and comforts aren’t necessarily going to be there. However, there comes a time (quite often) when I find myself answering explanations of how I should act with, “hmph, allora, non sono Italiana.” Smile. In other words, wait your turn lady!

waiting patiently in line

Wouldn’t this be nice? Creative Commons credit: simonhn

On the other side of this very interesting little coin, we have the overeager, can’t wait to get in line Italians. You’ll find them at the boarding gates of Ryanair flights.

If you ever find yourself taking a Ryanair flight out of Italy keep a close eye on the boarding gate. Often, in my experience Ryanair flights are delayed, but that doesn’t seem to stop the Italians from fighting to be the first on board. No less than one hour before the flight you’ll find a line-up of Italian passengers, patiently waiting to claim their seats onboard. It shocks me that they’ll stand there for hours if need be, just to ensure that they get to sit together on the short flight.

When we flew to Alicante last summer, our flight was delayed over two hours and nothing could deter the line from being formed. I sat happily in the free seats enjoying a book while they stood waiting on their weary legs. Lorenzo and I keep our eyes open for this mad rush to board the plane and then we enjoy watching as everyone is vying for a seat, while we rest our legs and continue reading our books. Often among the last few to get on the plane, in only one case have we been forced to sit separate from each other and even then only in the two seats across the isle from each other.

Have you dealt with any interesting waiting games in a foreign country? What about the mass chaos that ensues when lines are required?