On the outside, he looked calm. On the inside, he was boiling.
He was always impatient, but never more so than when he had to stand in line for something. In his native California, he would search for the shortest line at the supermarket, at the DMV, or wherever there was a line. He would leave what he was doing for another time— just to avoid standing in line.
Now in Peru, he had no choice. His suffering was indescribable.
His stomach tightened as he stood there, waiting for his turn.
They always work so slowly.
As soon as he got in the line, he drifted to another place in his head and an internal conversation began.
This is the fifth time I’ve been here. It is just a simple recording of our marriage certificate, but then in Peru, nothing like this is simple. Every time they want another paper.
Why do they move so slowly?
Standing there, as the minutes go by, the line moving slowly, he begins to fantasize:
He is standing at the counter facing the clerk. The clerk looks at his documents, shakes his head, and says
“This form is not complete. Before the certificate can be approved another paper must be supplied”
( The fifth time… but this time it is going to be different)
He tells the clerk,
“Señor, look deeply into my eyes. Just relax. Watch the pencil go back and forth, back and forth. You are at peace. Your eyes are getting heavy. Now close your eyes slowly.
The clerk’s eyes closed.
“Señor, when I count one, two, three, you will open your eyes, you will smile at me, and quickly stamp the form approved. Do you understand?
Just then reality intrudes.
The clerk impatiently beckons him to the counter. He looks at the document and says,
“This is the wrong line. Go over there.”
He points to another very long line.