I was at the licensing department the other day. The one on the Foreshore, that people hate going to, because the queues are always very long and they always move very slowly. For that reason, I got there early. And it was a good thing, because the queue wasn't too long. There was another reason it was a good thing I got there early, but I'm coming to that.
   So there I was with my yellow form, which I had to hand in because I had sold my car and needed to de-register it. (For more back-story, see the post titled "I Know What Smokers Know".) And as I stood in the queue and waited, I beheld what was around me, I thought, "this is a great leveller". In New York, even the mayor takes the train. He sits there with the bums and beggars. This sort of thing - where people from completely different backgrounds, with completely different lifestyles, find themselves occupying the same space for a period of time - still rarely happens in South Africa. It's true that the very rich are unlikely to be at this specific place, because they buy new cars from dealers who do the licensing and de-licensing for them. But in all other ways, the people in the room were very different from each other and were unlikely to find themselves together ordinarily.
   There was something pleasing about this thought, and it made the wait not so unbearable, and it seemed not to take that long for me to get to a window to hand in my yellow form. I smiled at the lady on the other side of the glass and she smiled back. We exchanged helloes. And then our attention was abruptly drawn to a sound coming from behind me. I turned to see a short white man in a large and badly fitting suit at another window talking at a volume that was audible to everyone else in the room. More accurately, at a volume that was hard to ignore. And indeed, everyone else in the room had stopped what they were doing to look at him.
   "Are you telling me I need to go to another office? You must be joking," the man in the bad suit said, loudly. "I haven't got the time for that!" Most people stood still. One or two smiled.
   "Who is going to pay for my time?" the man in the bad suit asked, not at all rhetorically. 
   The lady behind his glass didn't answer him. More people were smiling. One or two were chuckling a little. The man in the bad suit continued to throw his toys. Then he left the window and, grumbling, passed me on his way out, his badly fitting trousers scraping the floor.
   He was the second reason it was good I got there early. If I'd got there later, I'd have missed him. The man who thought he was better than everyone else. While everyone else thought they were better than him.