Waiting in line

Photo by Ridham Nagralawala

We’ve all done it, skipped to the shorter line at the airport thinking the process will speed up only to see that the person who stepped in the longer line after us gets through security quicker. “Damn.”  The miscalculation only adds to the already incredible frustration of waiting in line.

Lines are aggravating not only because they impede progress but because they are a  waste of time. Fortunately, the mobile phone is an entertainment and social device, often saving us from boredom. However, the phone merely adds time to the queue.  With more people’s heads down it compounds the line problem further simply because no one is paying attention to what’s in front of them.

The feeling of being in line is what makes New York City incredibly frustrating. There’s never a shortcut through people traffic, only a way to slither in and out of head down mobile obsessed crowds like a snake. New York has a wild pace about it but this pace gets stunted by the millions of inhabitants walking the streets each day.  Lines also get worse in incompetent, careless places.

Standing at the DMV this weekend felt like entering the opening maw of hell. It’s already bad enough there’s an expected wait but the fact that DMV employees move like slow robots with little care for customer service makes it worse.  They know customers are stuck at their mercy. Might as well be a 4-hour prison.

We all know that lines suck and aren’t getting any faster any time soon. The world’s population is exploding, cities are already congested, and addicting Smartphone devices slow the pace down considerably. In fact, I just missed crossing the street because I was publishing this post.

(Post inspired by “Why Waiting in Line Is Torture” in the The New York Times)

They didn’t even have iPhones.

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By Wells Baum

Wells Baum is a daily blogger who writes about Life & Arts. He's also the author of and four books.