How to Survive Waiting Forever in a Long Line
Have you ever noticed how much of life is spent waiting? On traffic lights to change, the cashier at the fast food outlet, important calls, the latest movie, someone to say he or she loves you, or the perfect moment to snap a picture?
In fact, it is estimated that the average person spends between 45 to 62 minutes waiting every day. So, the big question is what to do in the meantime? Especially if you find yourself waiting in a long line that seems to be lingering forever, which tends to happen a lot on Trinidad and Tobago.
Some people talk to themselves, some try to talk to you, and others quarrel and grumble about the situation, hoping to get things moving at a faster pace. Still, there are others, about two or three, who will tell you that they’re actually in front of you, but are going to sit down and wait, or are going to get other things done. So now you‘re even more pissed because you thought you were closer to the top of the line… then you think, “Hey, why didn’t I do that?”
Anyway, in an effort to regain those precious moments of my life that were lost, waiting in lines over the years, I’ve found some useful things to do – such as making a to-do-list. Yes you heard me! Since you’re obviously not going anywhere soon, and there’s always something that needs to be done, which if you’re anything like me, you’re always forgetting – write it down. So whenever you do make it out of that line, you have a renewed sense of purpose and accomplishment.
You can also text or call friends and family you haven’t spoken to in a while, but if you’re making phone calls, please don’t do like some people and bawl into the phone so that the whole building can hear your conversation. Puhlease!
You could also send an e-mail, tweet, listen to music, or finally play those games stored on your cell phone. Hell, you might even figure out how to actually use some of your phone applications.
Boredom and frustration can make you do some strange things though. I recall being so idle one time that I called a guy I met on the Treasure Queen a couple weeks back. It wasn’t as awkward, as I thought, but under normal conditions, I wouldn’t have done it (shame faced).
I should have just walked with a good book to keep me occupied. Lord knows that I can hide a whole library, and then some in the bags that I lug around. Actually, this is something that you can do… READ. It really makes the time go by as you become engrossed in juicy storylines, or poignant quotes.
For all of you lucky people with me-toos, aka a Blackberry, or “WhatsApp” on your iPhone, chatting with friends will give you an outlet to vent your frustration, and ketch some kicks. Doh study it, if other people look at you strangely, because you ‘buss out’ a laugh jes’ so.
I’ve seen people who use the time waiting to catch up on their grooming – from combing their hair to clipping or filing their finger nails to putting on make-up. I’m not too kosher on the nail cutting thing. Can you imagine someone’s fingernail flying into your eye? Some people even display their bad habits. We’re talking – nail biting, nose digging, burping, scratching, excessive coughing, foot tapping etc… My recommendation is to please leave the bad habits at home!
That’s why I people watch. You have to keep an eye out for anything… waiting with strangers is not paradise. I try not to stare directly into their faces because that would be rude, but I do observe their movements, clothing and expressions to figure out things about their life, for example, what kind of job they might have, if they’re married or single, or if they have children (Hey, it keeps me occupied).
I also look around for other things like emergency exits, clocks, fire extinguishers, security personnel, managers, toilets, bins, water and vending machines. It’s good to get a layout of your temporary surroundings, just in case anyone decides to go ballistic. Even I fantasize about blowing things up, or boldly walking up to the counter and demanding that I get served, like some of the people who you see pushing their way to the start of the line, and ‘get on so bad’, that they’re hastily served by the customer service representative or teller, just so they can exit the premises quickly.
Honestly, waiting for anything beyond a certain timeframe drives me crazy. Tell me why I must wait over an hour to pay a bill when I have everything needed? It’s torture being in a line waiting to do a transaction that should justifiably take only a few minutes. After all, you can only stand so long until you start fidgeting, your back aches, your stomach growls, and you become increasingly overwhelmed by feelings of powerlessness, anger, and boredom.
When you hit this level of unfettered exasperation, that’s when you’ve got to find things to do to preserve your sanity, and ensure that a long line doesn’t spoil your day.
Admittedly, I’ve opened doors many times only to make a hasty retreat, and even walked out of a couple lines after realizing that I still had not moved an inch after a full ten minutes of waiting. But sometimes there’s no choice; you just have to take a deep breath and get in line, and that’s when finding useful or entertaining things to do steps in to save the day.
Check out the rest of this week’s issue (11/07/11; Issue 65):
- Alone in Münster: Adjusting to Life in Germany
- Five ways to recognise a Bishops girl
- Braving Religion: Three Homosexuals and an SDA University
- The Anatomy of a Pick-up Line
- Love at first sight: How it really works
Look out for a new issue of Outlish.com every Monday!