Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Lines. We all dislike them, but you know what? If there is a line for something, it means there are more people wanting a particular service (demand) than that service can be provided (supply). So people wait their turn until they can be served.The next person in line is the next person to be served.

Same is true with traffic, but a little different. If there is a line, that means there are more cars that want to be somewhere than the road can handle, so people cue up and wait to merge. In general, "merge" works best with every-other-car, or, as a co-worker once said, "the zipper method". One car from one lane, one car from the next lane. Everyone keeps moving.

Let's examine the past hour of my life, where I encountered both of these situations.

First: traffic. I believe in the every-other-car merge. I ALWAYS leave a several-car opening in front of me to allow a car to merge into traffic. I also expect the car behind that one to merge in behind me. Instead, what happens most often is either (1) that second car trying to merge will speed up and zoom past the merging car so it can get closer to the front of the line. Or (2), the second car trying to merge will ride the bumper of the first car (the one I let in) and attempt to do a 2-car merge in front of me. This pisses me off. What sense of entitlement does this second person have that they can't come in behind me?

Let's move on to the people line. Standing in line at the grill for breakfast. Two people in front of me, one behind me. Cook is cooking. Two guys wander over and stand in front of the line. It's like none of us existed. As soon as the cook turned around to see who was next, these two guys actually stepped forward and started to order! The cook, thank heavens, looked to his right, saw the line, and addressed us instead. These two guys made no effort to get in line; they just stood there until the cook had asked all of us for our orders.

Now don't get me wrong. There are times I will gladly let someone in front of me, like at the grocery store checkout - when someone has only one or two items, I'll let them go ahead of me. Or in a long line in the ladies' room, I'll let someone with a small child go ahead of me. But other times? That line is there for a reason, and YOU don't get to decided you go first. The people already there before you get to make that decision. It's called civility.

I do not understand any of this, but the sense of entitlement, the sense of me-me-me, the inability to "play nice" is all starting to make me want to be a hermit and just stay home. Seriously.