The greatest thing about being a kiwi in London is that by being an outsider it's easy to get away with not conforming to unspoken social rules. And by a kiwi, I don't mean a little brown bird, although they would have even more of an excuse to not comply. Or a kiwifruit, which is often mistakenly referred to as a kiwi, as their chance of understanding any kind of social structure would be extremely slim indeed.
Anyway, I was walking along the other day with my pet kiwi, carrying a kiwifruit, and my kiwi said to me that she fancied some McDonalds. And would I ever argue with anyone or anything suggesting McDonalds? I think not. So we were approaching McDonalds and I saw that there was a line out the door. In this situation I'd ordinarily just walk on rather than waiting in line, but my kiwi looked at me with those big blue kiwi eyes and I couldn't refuse.
Upon closer investigation I noticed that in McDonalds there were eight different counters, each with someone serving from them. However, the configuration of how the Londonish people had decided to queue was in one long queue rather than the more sensible one queue per counter configuration. What is this madness? With a moment of thought I gathered that it must be something to do with fairness in that the people should be treated equally and each be served according to their punctuality in getting to the McDonalds store the earliest. But that's hardly exciting is it? Surely in the one queue per counter configuration there would be more of an element of excitement? "Am I in the quickest queue?", "Did I make the right decision?" Then again maybe that would be too much to add this conundrum to the everyday anxiety of the Londonish folk.
But you know what? I live life to the fullest so decided that I would be the catalyst for change in this situation. I strolled in and walked straight up to one of the counters which didn't have someone lining up at it. The looks on the faces of the folk in the long line were a mix between shock and awe, shock because someone had done something so utterly unacceptable, but also awe of the braveness of going against the grain and creating a more optimum queueing configuration. Slowly, as my bravado rubbed off on them, the others in the queue decided to follow suit and the next thing I knew there were eight lines, one in front of each counter.
As I walked out, each and every person in McDonalds gave me a look of respect. One of them gave me a high five, but I refused it because that's way too American and I didn't want to get lynched by the folk who I'd just a moment ago impressed so deeply. My kiwi and my kiwifruit were both so impressed by the situation that they both shared their chips with me which encouraged this kind of behaviour and lead to more stories just like this which I will share in the coming weeks.