Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Queueing Lessons

Vancouverites need lessons on how to queue properly. We all seem to have some intense fear that by lining up in some reasonable semblance of order we’ll be dubbed uncool. We’re obviously a metropolis of adults who were traumatized by childhood bullying, somehow thinking our lunch money would be safe if we headed out West.

Instead of forming into a line where the first person to arrive stands closest to the bus stop, doorway, kiosk, etc. the first person has to stand at least 3 metres away. When another person shows up the first will glower at them menacingly to ensure that number two understands he or she is not to get on the bus, go through the doorway, get a coffee from the kiosk, etc. until after number one has. This continues with everyone tracking who came after them and savagely glaring to ensure their space in the pecking order has been noted and will be preserved. It would be so much simpler if people were to actually form a line, then you’d know who was in front of you and wouldn’t need to worry about who was behind. Much less effort, thinking and glaring.

I understand they are quite skilled at forming queues in Britain, perhaps we could encourage the civic authorities to fly some experts over to teach us all how to do it right.

So where does this rant come from? This has bugging me for some time (mostly at bus stops) but especially so after getting to the YWCA at 5:50am this morning to sign up for the next session of Masters Swimming. When I arrived there were two people already there waiting to get in, one daringly breaking the three metre rule by actually being one metre from the door and in a perfect queueing position. The man behind was glaring daggers at her so it was clear that she was not, in fact, first. As others arrived they loosely congregated behind us in no particular order. Someone joined the not-first woman in front of me and I found myself glaring daggers too (although I find it difficult not to glare at everyone at that hour of the a.m.).

Things worked out, no lives were lost and Mr. First did indeed get to sign up first (Ms. Not-first and I both deferred to him) but it all felt a little silly. I was not-first and not-second but was third in line so I did manage to sign up for the class I wanted so everything came to a satisfying conclusion.

We will leave the larger question of why on earth I would want to line up at 5:50 a.m. to enroll in a swim class that starts at 6:30 a.m. two days a week for three month to a later date!

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