Not my finest sketching five hours, standing up mostly and in a soft-cover sketchbook, but I was very glad to have it with me to help pass the interminable wait in the queue to get my driver's licence renewed at Randburg Licencing Centre last week. It was my fourth trip there, having been turned away on previous mornings as only 200 people per day are accepted into the line, making sure there's no chance that anyone might have to work a minute over the 3 o'clock closing time.
8:45 - outside the magical doorway to legal driving.
9:30 - just inside the entrance and peering through the window at the expectant faces outside
10:45 - shuffled round to the back of the reception desk, where there was a bit of a show to watch. First a group who had successfully completed their applications or collections were locked into the building while a cash-in-transit vehicle collected the previous day's takings; then a series of hopefuls came to ask at the desk if they could have an application form and upon hearing the answer, responded in various outraged/desperate/crestfallen ways. [Note to self: Never throw a hissy wobbly wailing fit before this desk, it provides huge entertainment to the bored audience in the dingy background and has no effect.]
11:30 Halfway up. What would we do without our phones?
12:30 At last a row of seats that we had to shift up on every few minutes...within tantalising sight of the final stage - the queue for the Cashiers. After this seat-shifting came The Room, the utopia of activity, technology and red tape, where we submitted our many documents, had eye tests, biometrics and fingerprints (of which I have none, apparently) taken - where I paid close attention and stopped sketching for fear I got sent to the back of the queue for some misdemeanor.
By 1:45 pm I was out, blinking in the sunshine, good for another five years before I have to do it all over again.