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(56) Blanco

One thing I noticed in the thirteen-hour queue for the Queen’s corpse, for her lying-in-state, was how impatient people are. Thanks to the hours I have spent meditating—one time I spent 12 hours staring at a white wall—I have developed my inherent capacity for patience, and become tolerant as regards physical discomfort. The people in the line with me were greatly discomforted by the queue experience: consequently, they had to chat constantly, take photographs and videos, go for coffees (“I’ll save your place”), buy snacks (complain about price-gouging), order pizzas, take space blankets from the Fire Brigade…

I said not a whole word the entire time, and I didn’t find the experience too terrible—it was painful, sure; and yet it was never psychologically unbearable—once I committed to it, I just accepted I was there. I wanted the queue to last longer in the end, since I preferred to queue with a purpose rather than wander round a shuttered London for seven hours until the trains started again. More or less queue—I was fine with it.

I had consumed all my food and drink earlier, but refreshments basically appeared—a bit like manna from Heaven for the Hebrews—when required. So I arrived at a stand that offered free coffee right by the queue, I arrived at a section where the Boy Scouts handed out free out-of-date biscuits and sweets, and I arrived at a section where the Fire Brigade handed out free water. No need to rush off to Starbucks (really to relieve the tedium, the “boredom” from the queue)—the necessaries will appear when required if you are patient, and life is like that really. The problem is that people are governed by an incessant nonsense chatter in their heads, governed by trivialities and the need to self-importantly chit-chat about nothing—for me, the towers at the City of London and their fluorescent illuminations were the queue’s highlight; though people were mostly too distracted to notice that.

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