It’s getting cold and nobody likes to be standing outside longer than necessary, so I don’t quite understand how the following scenario happened – especially as I am a person who is none too fond of the cold.
I went to the cash point at the rear of the store, there were two machines but people were snaking behind just one of them. I joined them.
I stood there looking at ... nothing in particular while moving from foot to foot in an attempt to keep warm - in the way that queue members do. The people at the head of the queue seemed to be taking an exceptionally long time at the machine. I looked over to the other one, there wasn’t a sign on it saying it wasn’t working, but I still stayed where I was.
Then we moved forwards. I was still cold and as I moved closed I peered even more at the other machine. I still couldn’t see any sign (as if I thought it would materialise as I got closer!).
Other people came and joined the queue.
The man who was behind me cleared his throat and spoke, I looked around at him. “Is the other machine not working?” he asked. The question in my mind was voiced.
I laughed as I said to him, “I don’t know. I’m just a sheep! I saw the queue and joined it.”
The woman in front of me also turned and started laughing. “Me too!” she smiled at us, “I’m not sure, I did the same.”
The man who spoke up repeated his question to the person leaving the head of the queue. “No,” the departing person confirmed, “it’s not working.” Someone then felt brave enough to approach the cashpoint and said, “No, the card reader is damaged.”
With a sigh of relief we all settled back down into our English reserve and resumed our quiet places in the queue feeling justified that we hadn’t broken queuing protocol.
Sometimes I feel like a sheep but sometimes I just know I’m so English! We love our quiet queuing.