I think I've discovered the best way to work queues in government offices! Y'know, the ones in which you reach the head of one queue only to discover that you have to then get to the end of another one, etc. Here's my secret....
Hunt in pairs!!!
For example, let's say A and B are at a government office bright and early (before the doors open) and find their place in a queue. Even before the doors open, B can stand in the queue while A rushes off to get a forgotten document from the car/ take a Xerox of something etc. Once the doors open, probably half the queue will rush away causing confusion in the minds of those remaining whether they are supposed to be standing in the queue or stampeding behind the ones who broke away. In this case, B can run off with the crowd to satisfy his curiosity while A holds place in the Q waiting for B to get back from his probably useless mission - and it will be a windfall in case the stampede was worthwhile. Now, suppose the officer at the window says, "Go to the next window and get a form for 5 bucks, fill it and get it back to me." Aha, here A can go join the Q to get the form while B walks back to the end of the first Q and inches forward again to the same window while wondering who will reach the their respective windows first and worrying whether A will come on time.
More activities to do while in the Q would be:
1. Counting the number of vehicles in the office compound
2. Fashion critiique - not much scope for it in front of a govt. office
3. Dispensing thoroughly useless information among fellow-queuees
4. Calling down curses upon the heads of all the employees in the building - can be a group activity if fellow queuees are agreeable
5. Counting the tiles on the roof of the office building - caution: might cause a crick in the neck. Not very pleasant
If you are fortunate, A might get the form before B reaches the window and then A can take position in the Q while B goes off to the side to fill in the form in record speed while consulting A on doubtful points. This tandem work can go on until you reach a point where there is no Q any more, but just a general crowd around an officer's desk. Here the combined bulk of A and B can be used effectively to work their way to the front of the crowd. One can elbow his way in while the other can smile apologetically at the elbowed (former queuees) and avoid an instant lynching. Then, while A explains to the concerned official, B can alternatively simper and sigh until the said official is intimidated / just simply crowded into doing the essential just to avoid AB hanging over her desk.
Everything done in half the time! Howzzat!!!
Discalimer: This may or may not be a partially true account of a personal experience!!! Follow on strictly your own responsibility.
On a more serious note: I was wondering about the poor officials who work in those hell holes that are called government offices. The buiding was at least 200+ years old, the fans might have been prototypes of the first ceiling fan, The gerneral dinginess and stuffiness due to the open records storage were positively unbearable. Cramped workspaces, and the prospect of nothing better even if you are transferred to other places. Believe me, since we decided to build a home, I've been to several govt. offices and it is the same everywhere. Is it any wonder that some times they look so sour and behave as though they are doing some charitable deed for you. In fact, isn't it just miraculous and ample proof of human fortitude that most of them discharge their duties promptly and cheerfully! People working in swank corporate offices, rejoice and be thankful!!!!