According to the great Greek philosopher Aristotle, in our lives we spend an average of 1 hour per day lining up for things (right). Between bartering for 2 kilos of pesticide-free veggies with your neighbourhood vendor, waiting at the vending machine for your daily coke intake, supermarkets or (gasp) at clubs, you wait. You know you gotta wait if you want to get out/buy stuff/get in.
I read an article on Global Voices today about how the Japanese love queueing. My initial reaction is that they probably don’t love it, just got so programmed into doing it (sorry, Japanese people, I do admire and love your sense of routine) that it’s more of an automatic response. It’s like a Chinese going for rice with his quarter chicken meal at Swiss Chalet- what’s your side dish with that? Mashed potatoes? Oh okay, just gimme rice.
It’s in our blood.
Anyway, I got so inspired by the article (yes, I read it, and I really liked it, no sarcasm intended) that I traced into my amazing cerebral mass and made a list of things that I lined up for, of which I find mildly or relatively memorable. Here goes.
• Red Hot Chili Peppers concert tickets: 1 hour
• Red Hot Chili Peppers’ live appearance and performance at MuchMusic. I almost got John’s autograph: 1 hour
• Opening of Red Hot Chili Peppers’ concert at what they used to call the Air Canada Centre, Toronto: 3 hours
• Something off the dollar menu in Mickey D’s: 20 minutes. 10 if you are lining behind grade niners
• Monthly TTC pass (metro/bus pass) at the University of Toronto: min. 15 minutes, Max 1 hour
• Chinese supermarkets whenever they have BBQ pork fresh out of the oven: 15-25 minutes. 5 when you are behind a particularly chatty housewife. You lose your sense of reality while listening
• Plane ticket deals on sale via Ryanair or GOL Brasil: between 45 mbps to 100 mbps. Do dial-ups count?
• Watching my life go by while pretending to be classy on a sidewalk café in Paris: infinite (actually only 5 minutes)
• Boxing day shopping at Future Shop while hustling the sales dude to install Windows XP for me for free: 5 hours
• Scarborough Town centre, parking lot queue: FKLEKLEHFEUOAOIdiohd9329743@*(&(¨! You stupid biatch!!!!
• Roasted Honey Duck at Maxim’s Restaurant in Hong Kong (precisely the location across from SPCS in Causeway Bay): age 10, lined up for the daily roasted duck with my dad. He wanted to buy two, and they only sell 20 a day at 35 HKD per piece
• I lined up for duck. Time stays still when you line up for duck. • The ladies’ washroom, various countries/continents/cities: the total line up time comes up to approximately 25,457,896 minutes.
But lining up takes up a whole new league when it comes to China. Some spectators at the Shanghai Expo certainly concur: “But others, such as Gao Yiming, worry about the sheer numbers of Chinese people. Gao was resting after a day of lining up and tramping around the enormous site. The expo hosted 100,000 visitors Friday, but she pointed out that organizers are expecting half a million visitors on peak days.”