Patience is a virtue

It’s thursday. Norman is visiting townhall because he has to pick up his new identification card. His old one expires in a month, so he had new photos taken and applied for a new one. Upon arriving at townhall, there are seven other people waiting before him. He didn’t think thursday mornings were this crowded, but he can’t change anything to the fact, so he draws a number, finds himself a place to sit in the waiting room and waits for him to be called. The walls in the waiting room are coloured red. There are two plants standing in two corners, green ferns, contrasting with the red walls. Looking at them for a while longer however, the colours seem to blend together. On the table in the middle of the room several magazines lie. A fashion magazine, a magazine about boats, one about countryside life, and a magazine with the royal family on the cover.

Only four people in front of Norman now, the waiting room is becoming less filled with people. A few minutes later, a man walks into the waiting room. There’s sweat on his forehead and after sitting down, he moves around in his seat several times. He mumbles something, but Norman isn’t able to hear what he says. Five minutes later, the line decreases again, one less person waiting. Norman looks forward, with a satisfied smile on his face. He’s got time. Thursday and friday are his days off, so he doesn’t have to go anywhere. The hurried man is still moving around in his chair and says something to the woman sitting next to him. “Darn cityhall, always taking this long.” The woman turns her head as he speaks, but turns it back as soon as he’s done talking. Her facial expression leans toward the ‘mind your own business’-look. The display above the door displays numbers 653 and 654 now. Only one more person and it’s Norman’s turn. He takes a look at his old ID card. He looks a lot younger in the picture, which was taken eight years ago. His hair was full, with its typical black colour. Norman smiles at the fact his hair has been receding for two years now. “Baldness runs in the family, no escaping it,” he thinks to himself.

Three more people come in the room. They sit down and stare in front of them, in silence. One of them takes a magazine from the table, the one about the countryside and browses through it. The rushed man sighs. “Hurry up, lazy civil servants,” he says, moving around in his seat again. The person sitting next to him, the one next in line, looks at him and frowns. The hurried man notices it. “What’re you looking it?” he says. The frowning man turns his head back and matters return back to normal. 655 and 656 appear on the display. “Ah,” Norman thinks to himself. “My turn.” He stands up and walks to the counter. There’s a kind looking lady sitting behind it, smiling as Norman stands in front of her. “Goodmorning sir, here to pick up your new ID card?” she asks. She already knows the answer, but that’s how things work, of course. Norman nods and smiles at her, handing over his old card, which they’re going to destroy to prevent people from counterfeiting it.

After trading cards and filling in some paperwork, Norman and the woman say goodbye and he walks back in the direction of the waiting room, toward the exit. As he walks past the waiting room, he sees there are five people sitting in the room, waiting for their turn. Among them is the hurried man, whose face is completely red and his forehead has even more sweat on it than before. He’s swearing, angry with why he has to wait so long. He gets up and wants to walk to the counter when he sees Norman standing to his right, looking at him. “What’re you looking at, asshole?” the man says. “Nothing,” Norman says. “Still waiting for your turn?”

“Yes for God’s sake,” he says, clenching his fists. “They don’t know even know how to work fast in this stupid place.” Norman smiles, infuriating the man even more. “Why are you laughing, dickhead?” Norman points at the device in the wall of the waiting room.

“Should have drawn a number.”

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