According to the website Brainboost.com, the average person will accumulate 10 years’ worth of time standing in line waiting to get to the front over a lifetime. TEN YEARS!! Now, whenever I read such scientifically unsupported claims, I have to wonder how on earth line waiting for the “average person” could ever be calculated with any degree of certainty.
We’ve all been inundated with advertising in both print and electronic media, correct? And, we certainly all realize Madison Avenue has long assumed consumers will bite on just about any claim if a few numbers are thrown in and the words clinical trial are mentioned, proving, say, that nine out of 10 dentists recommend a certain toothpaste.
When it comes to the 10-year claim for line waiting, if that really is true, the average person is a whole lot more patient than I am. As a charter member of NAOIP, as in the National Association of Impatient People, despite the unavoidable times I have to stand in line, I just don’t think I’ll ever join the all-decade team.
Now, when it comes to restaurants, as Lady Jane can attest, if I open a restaurant’s doors and see anyone sitting on benches or milling around in front of the hostess’s podium, there will be an immediate about face, and we’re moving on down the road to a nearby eatery where another stranger will be happy to cook something for us without the wait.
Whenever I think of my line-waiting moments, I hearken back to an Orlando family Disney vacation when my beautiful little daughters were grade-schoolers in the late 1980s. Now, my wife-at-the-time realized the impatience factor, so to head off potential issues with arguably the most childlike member of the family when it came to waiting in line for rides such as Space Mountain and The Magic Carpets of Aladdin and exhibits such as Epcot’s World of Motion, each morning, she went down to the desk of the Grand Floridian before we left. There, she would grab copies of both the USA Today and Orlando Sentinel, which certainly helped me survive the lines. By week’s end, I was the most well-informed person in Florida.
With the Disney trip, I knew I’d survive the lines because, after all, I wasn’t in the market for disappointing my kiddos by telling them certain lines to their favorite rides were simply too long. Also, the money had already been paid up front on one of those all-access passes for any park, any ride and any restaurant, which, for a young father whose classroom earnings had yet to cross the $20,000 yearly threshold, was quite a financial commitment, so, by Jiminy Cricket, I was going to get my Disney money’s worth!
Of course, there are other lines that are unavoidable, say, when, in pre-virus times, I’ve waited to enter concert and ballgame venues. That reminds me of my greatest circumvention-of-line-waiting experience of my lifetime. Last summer, Jane and I attended a Righteous Brothers concert in Cincinnati at Riverbend. Included in the cost of the tickets was a Kroger-sponsored cookout before the show.
When we walked in, we saw a line that had to be over a football field long. I asked someone in line what the line was for, and he said it was the line for the cookout. I looked at Jane and, of course, said there was no way I was going to stand in line for 45 minutes for a burger or brat and some chips. I suggested we continue down toward the Kroger tent to explore the concession-stand choices aligned opposite the line just behind the entry points to the concert venue.
When we got all the way down to the tent, amazingly, there it was, a second line leading to the cookout servers that had exactly seven people in it! I asked a worker with a Kroger T-shirt if this was some sort of VIP line, and she said no, and I thought for sure I heard angels sing somewhere in the distance. About three minutes later, Jane and I had a plateful of Kroger cookout grub, and I was headed to the Bud Light stand!
As for grocery-store lines, I never mind them because the scanner lines are always manageable, and, whenever I’m shopping for food, I’m always in a good mood anyway. It’s really the only shopping I truly enjoy doing. Even if it’s a non-scan line, for those times when, inexplicably, they happen to be closed, even if rather long, the cashier lines are manageable for me. For one thing, I’m always interested and entertained by the tabloids and their headlines about Hillary’s alien baby and those giant bats that attack planes and that discovery that Putin is really a robot. And, I’m also pretty interested in the variety of all the smaller items opposite the tabloids designed to appeal to the impulse buyers, something I may just explore on down the road as a weekly topic.
As for that supposed 10-year average for line waiting, well, I’m just not biting on that one. I’m thinking there are some folks out there who just may have racked up around 19 years because my impatient brethren and I, I’m pretty certain, are topping out at no more than a year in lines before our mortal journey ends.
John Grindrod is a regular columnist for The Lima News, a freelance writer and editor and the author of two books. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.