I Know My Place in Line and It Is In Front of You
When asked to stand in a line, I roll my eyes. I’m not one of the crowd and do not belong in the back of the line. I’m a man who belongs near the front to follow my own path of line-widening.
I see a line of people waiting, and I see an opportunity to take the standard straight line and make it wider. I might even create a “V” when other people start lining up behind me. I don’t call that rule-breaking.
I call that “innovation.”
Most folks follow the rules, and if they see a line, they move to the back and wait their turn. But is that how our country was founded, waiting in the back of the line to board the Mayflower, legally obtain land, or grab Starbucks Cranberry Bliss samples? Like my forefathers, I place myself toward the front of any line no matter how many others have been waiting for hours or days.
The airport is my favorite place to widen the lines. On my last trip, I approached my gate and saw 25 people standing in line. I walked toward the front and stood to the side. When the flight attendant said, “Group 3 can board now,” I slowly moved into the line. I might have jostled the old lady holding a cane, but she wouldn’t budge. She left me no choice.
Most people avoid conflict and say nothing. Others glare at me. I just stare at my phone or the ceiling or the manifesto I’m writing on the failure of democracy and make my way into the line.
Occasionally, someone might say, “The end of the line is back there, buddy,” I smile and say, “Thanks,” and keep shuffling along.
One time, I arrived at my gate as Group 2 jumped up, and 20 people created a boring and straight line. I noticed these two hot chicks walk to the front of the line, ask if this was for Group 2, and then remain there.
I thought, “Impressive,” and then I thought, “I could hit that,” and gave one a sexy chin nod.
She didn’t respond, but I know that is part of the line-widening rule book — do not make eye contact or acknowledge other human beings in the line.
Another great place to widen lines is waiting for buses and shuttles. I approach the bus and discreetly place myself off to the side near the front. Once the door opens, everyone rushes forward because we all have places to be, but my place is way more important than yours.
As a kid, I never lined up. I would let the other students push and shove to line up one after the other. When the teacher repeated her command, I walked toward the front and stood there.
Eventually, the teacher said, “Everyone, get in line. Bonnie, make room for Adam to squeeze in,” and voila! I was near the front with the teacher’s permission.
When the teacher turned her back and started walking, I jumped three feet off to the side and walked my own line. I was not a sheep, even as a third grader.
Next, I applied my line-widening skills to my driving. When my exit on the freeway is backed up, do I pull in behind the last car? No, I drive toward the front and find a few feet of space, turn on my blinker, and start pulling over.
I pick someone with a nice car, and now I’m toward the front, giving myself the gift of time to open a Bud Lite or six and watch Fox News when I get home.
The only place I don’t line-widen is at the DMV. Once, I placed myself off to the side near an old lady, and these two biker dudes I didn’t see behind me helped me find my place in line. Afterward, I made appointments, as all sane people should do at the DMV.
Sometimes when I widen the lines, people call me names, make rude gestures, or mutter swear words. Do I let that stop me? Like the early explorers, criminals fleeing a scene, or two-year-olds, I don’t stop when asked. I continue to do what is best for me.
My parents named me Adam. I was destined to be first, where I plan to stay. I gotta go. I saw Dunkin’ Donuts is giving out free Apple Fritters to the first 50 customers, and that’s gonna be me, no matter how many people are already waiting.
Amy Strommer lives in San Diego where she dreams about writing humor between naps, having a clean house, and reading the 17 books stacked on her nightstand. Thank goodness they are board books. Find her on Twitter @AmyStrommer and AmyStrommer.com.