In front of me in the queue were two elderly Americans, whom I observed were "sprightly"; tall, well turned out, neat and easy-going and interested in everything around them. A bus, a Routemaster to be precise (for this is salient) turned up, but it was not mine. The conductor looked at the American couple with an unsaid question and they said,
"Does this bus go to Piccadilly?".
"How long does it take please?"
The conductor had just run out of patience, but did not show it in any other way than a sort of muffled shrug.
"Half an hour do you want to get on, or not?"
"Is it a nice ride?"
"Aw, fer ferk's sake"
The conductor tugged on the bell. The bus went off without them.
Now you may feel this was a little harsh - the conductor clearly did not have the time to engage in Tourist Information services and he had a schedule to keep to, but the sprightly old couples expectations were different. Indeed this is a good example of what can happen when the gulf between expectation and delivery of services appears. The sprightly old couple were operating to a different set of expectations that day and they clashed.
But I digress. We demand some kind of order in society. We demand that things like trains and boats and plane run on time and we get very very upset when they do not. And yet, we get equally upset when we reach the check-in desk just after it has closed. Indeed, hardly a week goes by when we do not hear of a very public individual suffering a very public meltdown when their expectations (usually of deference and privilege) are not met.
It put me in mind of something Henry Kissinger said:
If I had to choose between justice and disorder, on the one hand, and injustice and order, on the other, I would always chose the latter.