Thursday, March 10, 2011

America On Line

I think I can safely say that a good number of people have no idea how to stand in line (or on line, depending on where you live). Find a line, and at least half the people in it will be succeeding in disrupting it somehow. I'm beginning to think they do it on purpose.

Case in point: I'm in the Safeway, in the Express Lane. I'm already miffed with Safeway and their so-called 'Express' lane, because when I was growing up, 'Express' meant 'Fast'. Grocery stores put their fastest cashiers in the Express Lane. Not anymore. Now 'Express' means 'New Hire' and apparently the scanning deficient employees are the ones working the line. Perhaps because there's less for them to screw up. I don't know.

Anyway, the woman in front of me has a cart full of nearly forty items. I know, because I counted. She has tins of cat food stacked and is clearly trying to pretend that a stack of cat food counts as one item. They do not. I spend several minutes making pointed glances at her, her cart, and the 'Fifteen Items Or Fewer' sign over and again. She ignores me. And then has the gall to write a check. Why more people haven't gone postal in the Express lane is beyond me.

And then there's the airport. I wish they would include among their many signs the directive to pay attention. The number of people who refuse to face forward astounds me. The line moves, and some guy is standing there, looking into space, totally missing the rest of us behind him that are picking up our bags and ready to move. How can this be? Do these people not also have a plane which is scheduled to leave at a certain time? Even private jets have flight plans and take off times. I do not understand.

Perhaps worse are the people who want to strike up a conversation. Why are we best friends now? I know this seems grumpy, but the basis of our relationship is only that we are standing near the same latitude/longitude coordinate. People get divorced with more in common than that. You should really seek approval for your purchases and confirm that your ceramic teapot is indeed cute with actual friends, and not people in line with you. Lines are for reading magazines you don't intend to buy and daydreaming. I don't mind sharing the occasional glance as we both wonder why the heck we're yet again standing behind a person who insists on paying with exact change, but I don't want a commitment. Please don't talk to me.

I also want to suggest that people study the dynamics of the line before trying to enter it. Midstream is a lousy time to figure out that there is only one line and you are actually just standing with a bunch of other confused people headed nowhere. Do your research.

For a nation of people who grew up going from classroom to cafeteria to playground via a line, we do a terrible job. Maybe we all need to partner up again and hold hands.

And watch where you point that cart.

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