Sunday, September 27, 2009

Standing in Line

One of the things that gave me culture shock in my first months in living in Seville is that no one waits in line. Ever.

You don't wait in line to order coffee in the morning, you don't wait in line in the bank. At the market, you don't wait in line, you simply ask the group when you arrive who is the last person there, and then you become the last person until someone arrives after you. When they ask who the last person is, you tell them it was you, and then everyone knows that you are ahead of them, and the conversations about tomatoes, or strawberries, or ham continue.

There is one place, however, where you absolutely must wait in line. If you step out of line, or stand to the side of the person in front of you, or in any other way hint at moving faster than anyone else in the line, someone will yell at you. Tell you to be careful about respecting the line. Put you in your place.

This is when you are waiting for the citybus.

This custom sure was a surprise to me, coming from a city that is very civilized in most aspects, except for riding the bus. In San Francisco, riding the bus can sometimes be a blood sport.

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