Monday, March 21, 2011

the rant about the disfunctional queue

I've recently discovered in myself a latent obsession with lines. Not as in geometry, and not as in coloring books, (although, come to think of it, I did abandon pages as a kid if the colors began to get out of their properly designated areas), but I'm talking lines of humans.

If I had to, I would pin it to elementary school, when whenever we ventured into the wilds of the hallways we had a line leader and a line follower, and everyone in between had to stay in their positions and not stray too far to the front or to the back. On pain of...umm...a warning? I don't remember. I was a strict line adherent.

Ponder the beautiful simplicity of the line principle: many people want to do something which can only be done by one person at a time. Walk through the hallway, ride an amusement park ride, use the bathroom. So we all stand one in back of the other, calmly waiting our turn, respecting the person in front and trusting the person behind to respect us.

Here's fun fact: Peruvians tend not to be quite as crazy about lines as Americans are, or at least as this American is. Forming them correctly, not actually waiting in them. As far as I can tell no one really likes that. Which is precisely the reason we're all so sensitive about our place in them.

I only reflect on this at such lengthly length because today I spent too much time waiting in lines. Lines the didn't line very well. Lines that only pretended to be lines. Lines in which the person behind me couldn't respect my place in line because they were not in fact behind me any more.

Especially at the photocopier. Nearly every time I go to the copier I end up wanting to smack someone. It has not happened yet. But it very well might.

No, you're right. I'm far too passive aggressive for that.


  1. I hate myself when I get crazy when someone after me gets waited on before me...but I do. I'm retired...what's the rush??? I dunno...

  2. I'm having the same feeling about the photocopier and I've only been twice. At least long-line-early-in-the-morning was mostly orderly.

  3. Bonnie: yes, it's true...I should be more patient!

    Rebecca: Except for the woman who was just ushering her own group out ahead of all of us!