I’m a patient man (sort of—impatience seems to be one of the fiery Scotch-Irish traits that runs through my otherwise English ancestry), but I’ve learned that waiting in lines is a major test of one’s patience.

I usually am threading a fifteen-minute-or-less needle throughout my day, so that everything hinges on the ability of myself (easy) and other people (questionable) to do their jobs efficiently, or at least in a timely manner.  I’m blessed in that God usually has an Eye out for me, and I’ve managed to pull off some spectacular feats of scheduling derring-do.

That said, I’m growing increasingly aware of the blasé attitude that is even more pervasive in the service industry, an industry that attracts either hyper-scrupulous worker bees or hyper-lazy minimum wage slaves.  There doesn’t seem to be much in-between.  Unfortunately, the wage slaves seems to be winning the day.

Whatever the reasons—corporate greed slashing wages to the bare-bone; excessive government entitled spending that encourages able-bodied losers to stay home; or just a general civilizational decline in the willingness and ability to do work, even the unpleasant kind—things seem to be getting simultaneously more and less efficient.  Artificial intelligence and our smartphones have streamlined ordering and directions, but there still has to be a human at the other end to flip the burger or the switch.

That’s been my experience a bit this week, as I’ve spent an inordinate length of time standing in lines.  That’s inevitable, of course, even in the most magical place in the world.

Standing in line (or “on line,” as our New Yorker [I originally misattributed this expression to the English; my apologies to my friends across the pond. —TPP] friends confusingly and wrongly put it—I’m no on top of the line, I am a part of it—ergo, “in line”), I’ve come away with a few observations:

  • Having an iPhone sure comes in handy, both to pass the time and as a child mollification device
  • People will go wherever and do whatever they are told to do as long as a teenager in a costume says it with enough authority
  • Any sense of agency is lost in a line (see the second bullet point), as you’re essentially human cattle filtered through a never-ending maze of turnstiles and themed rooms, never quite sure how much longer you have until you get to the ride

As such, standing in line is a bit like Purgatory—just waiting and suffering until you finally reach something better.


11 thoughts on “Lines

  1. Actually, your English friends would say queuing, to save time, and as much as they say that the English are masters at queuing, it doesn’t mean we like it. We appropriate the correct decorum and we never jump the queue but it is incredibly boring. The worst time is queuing for a pint. Tina and I said one day, we’ll have enough to build our very own pub and then queuing, at least for that, will go out of the window. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

      • Of all my countrymen, and though I haven’t met all of them, I’ve spoken to an awful lot, I haven’t heard one of them reference queuing as ‘waiting on line.’ In line, yes, but mostly queuing.

        The only thing I can think of is you have met or spoken with a foreigner, to your parts and ours, who got the language wrong.

        As for queuing or even waiting, it’s tedious. After dropping off the car on Monday for repair, I waited a grand total of 5 minutes for a taxi and even with the delights of Little Dragon (Another Lover – great track, solid bass line) in my ears, I was still fidgeting, not knowing what to do with myself.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Laughing … sounds like the Magic Kingdom was so… magic. LOL!

    I got coded from the City of St. Pete for an exterior cement staircase. That was in Sept. I’m still trying to get the stupid thing taken care of but the job is either too big or too small, can’t be handled by this one, won’t be handled by that one … the list is endless and here we are, close to the end of January and I’m still getting love letters from the City. Huge eye roll. You don’t have to tell ME about better/worse in the services industries.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. First, a small point: “Waiting in line” is normal usage. “Waiting ON line” is largely only a NYC thing. 😉 Hehe… I’m more than a bit of a linguistics & etymology geek. And just left NYC after 20 years.


    I’m blame the poor service on an increasing sense of undeserved entitlement on the part of many of the workers. They seem to think that they deserve better and are bitter because nobody gave “better” to them.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. New Jersey is a beautiful State. I lived there for several years and one of my kids was born there. Once you get settled in, check out Somers Point – they (used to) have a sign that shows “If you lived here, you’d be home now”. Just always tickled me.

    Liked by 3 people

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