It’s electrifying!

We’ve relocated in the Mall to a new shop 20m down the passage, but more central and more visible. Lots to do, most of which I dodged and Feroza did. One thing I had to do was change our address and pay the increased deposit at the eThekwini electricity department. We decided Chatsworth would be best, so I set off up Higginson Highway and past the Hare Krishna temple and find the municipal offices.
It’s the usual scene: Miles of chairs with silent sheep shuffling one seat at a time, edging closer to Nirvana: the counters against the far wall. I join the tail and luckily I’m next to a chatty oke.
After a few minutes he says What number you got? What number? Ja. Oh, where do I get a number? He points.
How did they know that?
I wonder.
Back to the entrance hall where I get lucky number 53 and rejoin the happy throng.
I watch, trying to learn so I don’t make damn fool again. Eventually I am in pole position, sitting alert, waiting for a gap at a counter. There it is. I stride up to it and immediately sense something is wrong. The Auntie in the sari is tense. She keeps her head down. After a minute, without looking up she says Is it your number yet? I say I dunno, I just got to the head of the queue and followed everyone else. She flings her hand up and to her right Look at the number.
I step back and look up. In the top left corner of the room there’s a small electronic box 20cm by 20cm. It has a bold, accusing number 50 which clicks over to 51 with a buzz as I watch. So that was the buzz sound I’d been hearing!
Oh, I say, slinking back to my seat, sheep-like. Damn fool.
How did they know that?
I wonder. And how did she know I wasn’t number 50? Maybe they don’t dish out numbers 50 to 52 so they can drink tea?
Soon bzzt lucky number 53 pops up, but no counters are open so I wait. Hey, you must go in that door, someone hisses at me. On the left of the left-most counter, directly under the number box, there’s a closed door that no-one else has gone into. Damn fool.
I do as I’m told. Inside there’s a chair and an identical counter to the rest, just lower – at table level. How the HELL did they know that? And why me? I wonder.
You must pay R3500 increased deposit, no credit cards, says the man. He’s spotted I’m  holding a credit card. Oh. OK, I don’t have that with me. Can I go and draw R2000 and will you credit me, then tomorrow I’ll come again with the balance and then you can complete the transfer? Eish, I don’t know if that’s possible. I’ll ask. Off he goes. Back 10 mins later. You don’t need to pay anything. You’re on debit order. You can go.
Back at the office the ladies are very helpful about the mystery door with the chair behind it:
Maybe its because you’re a whitey, they suggest. Or old.

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