OT Excuse me? Are you in line?

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Standing in a line isn't big a problem for me. Even long lines don't bother me much if there is something of value at the end of the wait. Good things come to those that wait, and the virtues of being patient are mostly true. Sometimes not, but for the most part, they are.

Some people don't like lines.

My wife hates them. And frankly, I don't mind these folks either, because they make it clear they don't like waiting, and often choose not too. I personally hate waiting in some places. Hungry in a crowded restaurant lobby for example, or at the dentist's office thumbing through 2 yr old Newsweek editions.

No, what gets me are folks that can't decide if they want to wait, or to be an accepted member of a line. These are the folks that leave a 10 or 12 foot (4+ person) gap between themselves and the next person in front of them. They dodge in and out, thinking everyone should respect them enough to 'hold the space'. They constantly break the harmony and the very purpose of a well formed cue. Movies, amusement parks, coffee houses, and ATM's seem to draw in the worst 'line people' imaginable. Can you tell it's a pet peeve of mine?

I think you know the type, and I hope you aren't one of "them".

If you are, perhaps nobody explained the rules. Allow me to extend my understanding of common courtesy and line etiquette.

1. PLEASE- Being in a line means - IN A LINE. This means you allow no more then a one, (max three) average sized person space between you and the next person in line. Having a little space is OK, just don't make it excessive. No more then a 3 person cushion. Do not stand off to the side, and no running in and out of position. This is clear line violation. It's tolerated by some, but definitely annoying and rude.

2. PLEASE - If you choose to join in the line, understand that we are a socially reserved group. Please be patient and cordial. Limit your complaints about the line itself. Nothing makes waiting longer then listening to someone who constantly complains about the long wait. We don't need your reminders. Conversation, while allowed, are tricky because it's hard to know if the person you’re speaking too wants to be part of a friendly chit-chat. People are generally polite, but watch the body language. Give people an "out", and they will think highly of you. If you ramble on and on without pause, then you become one of "THEM."

3. PLEASE - Respect the line's shape and form. It's often singular with few turns. If it does turn, turn with it maintaining a snake-like form.

4. PLEASE observe the moving speed of the line. Ignoring line movement beyond a few seconds is extremely rude, and disrespectful to those behind you. Don't stand there motionless when you see the line has moved. Also, if chatting with friends while in a line - pay attention to movement. If you see a 20-person gap between you and the line, rest assured you have upset the people behind you, because of you. Run to catch the line, and stay with it from now on.

5. Lines generally mean you have people in front of you - and behind you. You must be mindful to BOTH sides.

6. If you have young children with you, use this time to teach and reinforce the above 5 lessons.

You're fellow line members will usually allow you a one-time reprieve from breaking any of the above rules without casting any dire curses upon you and your family.

But don't push you're luck.
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That was hilarious and very informative Tim_Dad!!!! You definitely have a quick wit about you!!! You should be a columnist!!! Thanks for posting this!!
What I think is amusing is the difference between a line in New York and Europe. In Europe...especially in England, the line is extremely orderly and runs smoothly. Tim_Dad would be very happy there. Even when there is no sign or no barrier telling you to make a line, people make one anyway. It is always very obvious where the end is, and everyone follows the un-written rules. Like at a bus stop, there is an un-official line leading to place where the bus stops...and, of course this is very helpful, all the busses stop in the same place.

In New York, it is usually just one big huge mass of people. Whoever can push the hardest or squeeze through other people fastest gets there first. At a bus stop, you walk around the big mass of people waiting, step off the curb, walk in the street back in front of the mass of people to where you think the bus might stop, and then take a step back onto the curb. No concept of a line, or order, or anything like that.

Oh, and in NY, the proper term is waiting on line, not waiting in line!
I am British and we queue. We are born doing it and we do it well. In fact I was so confused when I moved to Canada and I realised that not everyone does t so well.
...can I hire you as a consultant? Do you work with young gymnasts? I'm not even ever asking for more than like, 20 seconds of a line. And it doesn't even have to be good. It just needs to have everyone gathered in one relatively small geographic area without being literally on top of someone else.

It's funny because once at high school states whoever was in charge of march out was very concerned about the lines, and spent like ten minutes going "tight turns when you hit the corner, do you understand? Tight turns. Hey! Listen up girls! Some people were sloppy going around those corners last night!"
What I think is amusing is the difference between a line in New York and Europe. In Europe...especially in England, the line is extremely orderly and runs smoothly.

That's true, in Austria as well.

However!! and this is a big however - if there is a frenchman in-line... forget about it. The whole line gets disrupted. To them, it's about being first. Paris mass transit is a sport for sure.

When I was skiiing in Austria, the french skiiers never, ever lined up for the lift. The elbowed and wiggled there way up to the front, even if it meant stepping on peoples skies. Apparently they don't know that ski lifts are built in loops...not a finite about of chairs. :)
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