I am forced to acknowledge the existence of a “powerful lady” every time I visit a local office. I arrive and instantly face this harsh reality: twenty people have to be attended before it’s my turn. Do you think I wait? Never. Public services should not be like this. People are left with two options only: 1) Submission. 2) Resourcefulness.
I am glad I know someone there making it easy for me. I go straight to her and ask: “I have to be somewhere else in minutes. Can’t you help me in this?” She is really nice. In a few minutes she solves my problem. Sometimes it’s over, but most of the times she sends me to another desk where I have to pay for the document in question. I sit and wait. And wait. And wait.
I check how long people have to wait in the section I have just left. It takes between 15 to 30 minutes for each people, so the average time for someone to make it through the first stage is 22.5 minutes. Multiply time by the 20 people in line and you realize that I have just earned 450 minutes, more than 7 hours. A really feat!
That’s when I start to ask myself: “If I have just escaped the worst, why on earth am I the only one waiting in front of a desk where I am just supposed to pay for a service rented to me?”
http://i106.photobucket.com/albums/m263/seabell_2006/seabell_2008/seabell_2009/DSC04961.jpgI get up and ask to the lady sitting behind that desk: “Does it take long?” I know her. It’s always the same lady. I think she glued to that chair years ago and nobody could remove her from there ever since. She asks me to sit and wait, expecting an obedient reaction. My role is turning around and returning to the chair right in front of her, where I cannot stop wondering how a simple electronic receipt takes ages to be issued.
If you dare to address her again with any other question, she is going to explode and you are in trouble. How do I know it? I once politely informed her I was in a bit of a hurry. Her reaction was like an African storm. I cannot repeat you all she angrily said, but you might guess. She easily frees all the anger she keeps inside. It’s not pretty, I can tell you.
I sat in front of her days ago. It all happened the way I described. Without even sitting, I went to her desk and asked if my document was ready to be paid and collected. “Wait”, she indifferently replied. I sat and started to wonder what on earth was I waiting for, being the only one sitting there.
http://i106.photobucket.com/albums/m263/seabell_2006/seabell_2008/seabell_2009/DSC04961.jpgWhen I was about to approach her, interested in knowing the motives of such wait, I remembered. I realized she was only expecting my protest to explode. Instead, I turned around and left. At the door I asked the officer standing there: “I left a document to be paid and collected. Can I send someone for it later?” Of course, I could. I sighed and ran away from there. Just for a few moments, while I sat in front of that desk, my heart beat stronger in rebellion. The difference is that this time I won. She couldn’t explode. She couldn’t make me patiently wait either. And I understood she is powerless against me.
(I bet you know a couple of “powerful” ladies too…)