This morning I had to make a run to the bank to pay a slightly overdue electricity bill. With a plan to arrive when the doors open at 8:30, I left my place around 8:15. It was a glorious morning for a walk.
When I arrived at the ICBC (Industrial and Commercial Bank of China) on the West Third Ring Road I noticed 5 or 6 people standing sort of in a line outside the door. Uh-oh. Sure enough, opening time wasn't until 9:00AM, so I took my place in the line. It was a good thing I had the timing wrong because within about 15 minutes there were 25 people lined up.
I looked around and realized that not only was I the only foreigner in the line, my presence also significantly lowered the average age of group. It was a line-up of grannies, save for the one grandpa who had somehow managed to snag the first place in line. We were all standing quietly, minding our own business, awaiting the start of the banking day.
Our line went straight out from the door, across the sidewalk, and across a driveway. This way we were all in the shade.
About ten minutes before the bank was to open, a security guard came and told us we needed to line up along the building, on the sidewalk instead of blocking the driveway. Now, given that the sidewalk was bathed in the hot morning sun, these grannies would have none of it, and began berating and scolding the man for telling "us old people to stand in the hot sun!" After a couple of minutes, the poor guy had no choice but to flee, leaving behind a now totally united and unified line of offended grannies who fussed loudly at the impertenence of the guard and the stupidity of having a driveway here. Moments ago we were but 25 strangers, but now we were a force to be reckoned with.
A few minutes later a tiny female security guard came up and tried to accomplish what the man had not been able to do. She of course was met with the same resistance and fled.
Grannies here are not to be taken lightly.