The line starts over there

Emily Nordin

Ever wonder how much time you spend in line? According to a National Public Radio interview with line expert Richard Larson — a.k.a. “Dr. Queue” — the average American spends two to three years of their life in line. At first this may seem like a shocking statistic, but upon further reflection, you shouldn’t be so surprised. Think about all the lines you stand in every day. There’s a line to get your food in Andrew Commons, a line to enter/exit your classroom, a line to get your Michelle Obama tickets — the list goes on and on, and that’s only at Lawrence. Out in the real world, the number of lines one could potentially stand in is mind numbing. And speaking of mind numbing, a line can be rather dull, not to mention dangerous — but add a heat wave, a few screaming babies, a person who can’t make change, and a line can turn ugly fast. Thereby, I have drafted the following:

A Basic Survival Guide for the Queue:

1) Don’t voice your sarcastic comments out loud. As tempting as it may be to give your acerbic opinion of the chump holding up the line, you run the risk of appearing rude. With that said, feel free to think of potential quips. It will keep you amused and save your sanity. “Cut the chitchat Grandma, save it for bingo night!”

2) Plan ahead. If you know you’re going to be stuck waiting in line, bring supplies with you like food, a drink, a book, your cellphone, your iPod, etc. Caution: Make sure these things will actually keep you entertained. Plato’s “The Republic” might not be the best option.

3) Go to the bathroom ahead of time. Obviously, if you’re going to be stuck waiting in line for a while, make sure you start off with an empty tank. It would be a shame to lose that spot in line.

4) Wear decent footwear. Waiting in line is not for the faint of heart. You could potentially be on your feet for hours; what’s the better option, high heels or sneakers?

5) Network. Be friendly to people in authority — security guards, event staff, the maître d’, stewardesses, etc. They have the ability to help you, or make your life completely miserable as you wait. With this, make sure your cute younger sibling is visible at all times. Their preciousness may just get you to the head of the line faster.

6) Act like a cow. When all else fails, zone out in line and mindlessly shuffle your feet forward as if you were — pardon the dairy reference — a heifer on its way to be milked. Sometimes it’s just easier to let the line make the decisions for you.

In conclusion, waiting in line is a fact of life, an onerous fact of life. However, after reading this survival guide, I hope that you approach your next queue with a can-do attitude. Or, at the very least, I hope that I’ve given you something to think about the next time you’re in line.