This morning I set out on a mission to pay a bill. This was my first time paying and I wasn't sure how to do it. I went first to a nearby supermarket to a payment center but they couldn't accept payment for this particular bill there. So I asked where I should go and they mentioned a payment center in a mall not too far from here. But with public transportation it would have taken me about two hours to pay at that location. The guy in front of me in line was still standing there and offered another solution- there was an office nearby that he thought could take the payment.
I walked over to the office with my umbrella up. No, it wasn't raining- using an umbrella as a sunshade is a common way to combat sunburn and heat exhaustion here. Things have been fairly warm this past week as we get closer to hot season.
When I arrived at the office I found the line for the teller. There were at least 35 people ahead of me and I have heard lots and lots of stories here about people waiting for hours to pay bills. I resigned myself to my punishment because I knew I had left this bill payment to the last minute.
A guard came over and asked me if I was waiting for the cashier. I said yes, and then he asked to see my bill. I was flustered but did what he asked. I thought he was going to tell me I was in the wrong place. He surprised me by taking the bill from my hand and escorted me past all the people to the front of the line. As they gawked at us he explained, "Kasi buntis siya," which means, "Because she is pregnant."
I was embarrassed as I paid my bill but so very grateful not to have to stand there and wait for an hour or two.