What is it about line-ups that perplexes us so?
You would think that Canadians would be pretty kick-ass line citizens. We are polite and friendly to a fault. And we live in a quasi-socialist country, so we really don’t have any expectation of fast and/or efficient service. This combination should, technically, make us really model citizens of lines.
Yeah, not so much.
I’m at the post office today. There’s no good time to go to the post office. I always encounter a line, no matter what. And this time does not seem to be an exception. It’s at least 14 deep, snaking down an aisle of the drug store that houses the post office, when I get there. And it’s not moving.
There is a gathering of people near the line. They are milling about in all directions, distracted by everything around them. I don’t want to step on any toes (literally or metaphorically), so I have to start politely inquiring which of these people might actually make up the line proper. I think maybe that question will alert them to their non-linear behavior (maybe shame them, mildly?). No. No it doesn’t. I get 2 blank looks and a “YEAH?!?!”
So that’s the kind of line it’s gonna be. Ok. Game face on.
One of them wanders clear out of the aisle, engrossed in the many varieties of bottled water nearby. I resist the urge to inquire whether he came to drink or buy stamps, goddammit, because you can’t do both. You just can’t. He comes back to his “spot” which appears to be a 6 foot circle near-ish the line, and he is totally cool to share it with whoever wanders into it, completely ignoring the Code of the Line Up.
And then someone lines up behind me.
He’s not real good at personal space. He parks himself so close to me that I can’t shift my torso without being bumped by him.
This bothers him not.
He uses this down time on-line to connect with someone on the other end of his cell phone. Loudly. Like, LOUDLY.
And he’s standing so close (actually, not standing. Doing more of a mild jig/crump/rain-dance) that I can not only hear his side of things, but every word the person on the phone is saying. They seem to be in some sort of Vapidness Deathmatch. And they’re both winning.
The fuckery reaches its apex when the person on the other end of his call decides to put the cat on the phone. THE GOD DAMN CAT. (It should have come as no surprise that this improved the conversation. Greatly. I had to bite my tongue, so as not to yell “Please don’t go!” when the cat drifted off and was replaced by its owner. Who detailed all the adorable things the cat had done today. Including the super-cute poop it took in her shoe.)
One final bump to the back of the head proves to be my straw.
I make the universal sound of disgust (ok, I can’t actually spell it, I think the closest you can come is “gggcccahh!”, and it relies on all my German ancestry to get it out with the right degree of guttural oomph). Sadly, it has no effect.
I am forced to go Full Mom on this asshole.
Shoulders square. Eyes burning holes. “EXCUSE ME? CAN YOU PLEASE STOP THAT?”
He is mildly surprised. Apparently, our “touching” relationship has affected me more deeply. He looks like he had no idea I was there.
I let my self-righteous indignation wrap me like a nice, protective blanket for the remainder of my stay in the post office line.
And find comfort in the idea that maybe, tonight? It would be THIS guy’s turn to get his shoe pooped in.