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Sunday, 19 February 2012

ARE YOU BEING SERVED?

Only the British queue and maybe north Americans. Not queuing starts somewhere around the Pyrenees and is tolerable till you reach Greece and find yourself in the sea after some old lady pushes you into it in the scramble to get on the ferry. In northern Spain you can wait patiently for hours behind someone being served and still be shoved aside by some new customer who enters on cue as the other one picks up her receipt. The words 'I think I am before you' are understood and sudden overbearing apologies are administered but not often. Sometimes the queue jumper will start to tell you their life story which usually involves their car which they tell you anxiously is triple parked. You tell them yours is now hemmed in by theirs and they will tell you some other sob story. You then spend the next ten minutes trying to outdo one another while the dry cleaning woman tells you to stop wasting her wonderful time. My Wonderful Time is a great but selfish recreation/invention/way of life. Once you have been here a while you start to understand that nothing is going to get in the way of yours either. It makes for a selfish society as everyone races along to the next meal or fiesta but when you come to die you will know you have lived. It's why Brits on holiday in such places feel like they have been let off a leash but a  Brit will become apoplectic in seconds if someone pushes in. It takes years to finally not give a shit and that bristling feeling that never quite goes away can be redirected to empower you in the scrum to get served. There is also no eyebrow or eye contact in a bar. Some waiters might take note of your existence and if they know you they may even serve you before the wedding party that turned up before. Most of the time you have to barge your way to the front and somehow make the barman or woman serve you and ignore the person next to you because they are going to do the same to you.

Yesterday we timed it right at the carnival. We stood at the top of the street and watched the floats and various folk dressed up. My favourite had to be the group of girls who decided to go in a dinghy standing up with the bottom of the dinghy cut out and them walking around in it with paddles but not knowing who the lead walker was. The last float was actually an ambulance that crawled along behind some boys who had made a makeshift bar on wheels and were dressed for summer. They had managed to fasten a beer pump on the side and were helping themselves to drinks as they floated along. As soon as we saw the ambulance we walked back down the parade and found a bar that was empty, got our drinks and ten minutes later the scrum arrived and we sat back, relaxed and watched the feathers fly.

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