Blessed are they that budge for they shall be first in line.
If that’s not a North African proverb, it should be. Some days instead of the one being budged, I want to be the one budging. Let them see how it feels for once.
But I know that’s a selfish attitude. So the question lingers: How exactly do I cope in such a pushy culture?
For example, standing in line at a shop today, the owner served the 5 pushy people behind me before he fetched what I asked for. Then I stood with my money on the counter while he served the next 10 pushy people behind me.
It wasn’t until I said, “Take this, sir!” that he turned to me and apologized. I wasn’t even tempted to give him the customary, “No problem.” My inflamed temper wanted to clear the crowd at the counter with a giant push and then hurl my unpurchased items at the shop owner. I could even envision myself stomping out, bellowing that I would never return.
How should I have acted? Really, the question is: How should I act? This isn’t a one time occurrence but a constant cultural barrier for me. In my 9 months here, I have met few truly courteous strangers; most courtesy turns out to be greediness in disguise.
This is one of the only things in this culture of which I cannot even glimpse a bright side. So, practically speaking, what should I do? Hang around a shop until the owner notices and takes pity on me? Disobey God’s command to love others as myself and begin pushing like everyone else?
Well, maybe my first step is to stop gritting my teeth when people infringe on my right to be served before them.