Who’s next?


I’m on the metro, shall I stay on another stop or shall I get off here? In a split second I have to decide what to do. I stay on, more because it’s now too late to get off, the metro has moved on. It’s late. I don’t have a ticket, because the security guy told me I’m too cute to get a ticket. I really hope the other security guys agree.

At 9.00 PM I arrive at Keleti station, Budapest. My train to Slovakia leaves at 6.30 in the morning, so to sleep in another couple of minutes I’ve decided to get a ticket now. I’m lucky, it is quiet at the ticket center. Two desks are open and the two women behind the glass are helping the people in front of me. The only other people in the room are a guy reading a book on one of the benches, and me. I wait behind the girl in the white shirt, as it looks like she’s the one that’s nearly finished. Just as I think she’s finished, she has to ask the woman another question. Another ten minutes go by, while I wait patiently behind the girl in the white shirt. The door opens and I see a guy come in, I suppose he’s in his mid twenties, carrying a huge Israeli flag. As he comes in the girl in front of me is finished, and automatically I take a step forward. To my surprise the woman behind the glass doesn’t look at me, but at the weird looking guy with the big flag, who had just stepped in the door. He’s comes towards me, but ignores me and starts talking to the woman behind the glass. The confused  look on my face must’ve let her to tell me the following: ‘ticket, you need to get a ticket’. As she sees I have no clue what she’s talking about she points in a direction behind me.

In the corner of the room I see a machine, most likely where you can take a number. The guy has a number and I don’t. So he can go first, those are the rules. Even though there wasn’t anyone else in the room waiting, and she also saw he just came in, while I had been waiting for what felt like an hour. I tell her this, but neither she or the dude with the flag responds. Shaking my head I walk towards the ticket machine and take a number. I take number 589, well, who could be next with no one else waiting? I sit down on the bench, next to the guy with the book. Another ten minutes go by, and two more people come in. I’m not worried, because I have a ticket. I’m next. And so I thought.

A man comes in, with what looks like his son. They get a ticket and wait. They don’t have to wait too long, because to my big surprise the number appearing on the screen is not my number 589, but 590! They just skipped me. The guy next to me can’t stop laughing at my dismayed face. What just happened? Another screen on the side happened. Apparently there are three counters, I hadn’t seen the one around the corner. The woman behind the glass laughs at me, but starts to help the man and son who just came here. I really can’t believe my eyes, in Holland this would never happen, because in Holland there is such thing as thinking outside the box. I’m getting a bit frustrated, not only I want hit the weirdo who all started this in the head with his own flag, I also just want to cry because I’m so tired and still need to find my hostel in a now dark Budapest. But I can also laugh about this stupid situation a bit. And about the guy who’s now showing his flag to the woman behind the glass, making twirls and everything. The guy next to me stands up and walks towards the ticket machine. He comes back with in his hand five tickets. ‘Well’, he says, ‘if this doesn’t make you go next, I don’t know what will’. Within five minutes I’m standing outside, with my trainticket in my pocket.


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