I can't stand standing in line and I won't stand for it

September 24, 2012|By TIM ROWLAND |

We all reach a point in our lives when age and dignity interfere in our youthful propensity to wait in line (the exception being Black Friday, but that’s a whole ’nother story).

When you’re 20, it’s nothing to stand in line for concert tickets, autographs or nightclub access. But in another 20 years, standing in line to be among the first people to see Batman seems about the stupidest thing imaginable.

It’s like Miami Dolphins running back Jim Kiick said when he saw Pete Rose sprinting to first base after drawing a walk: “Why? It’ll wait.”

As usual, of course, I take this aversion to line-standing to the extreme. I don’t care what it is, if there’s a line I turn around and walk out.

Don’t bother pointing out that this can be terribly counterproductive, because I don’t care. I have spent six hours driving around to restaurants looking for one that didn’t have a 10-minute wait.

She doesn’t say anything — she is too gracious — but when we go out to dinner, Beth takes her knitting and packs a sandwich.

I don’t fly anymore because of the waiting. Yes, it takes me two days to get to Chicago, but there isn’t any line for the train.

So, naturally, you’re not going to find me in line because I just can’t wait to spend $400 on a glorified appliance that I know I’ll wind up hating at some point.

Standing in line for a phone? Fifty years ago, that would have been like standing in line for a typewriter.

Yes, I do have an iPhone, but it’s one of the earlier, steam-powered versions. And I admit it’s really neat in a lot of ways I apparently don’t need for it to be neat.

I can use it to identify any East Coast wildflower in existence, but I never do. I can identify any star in the sky. But I never do that, either. If I don’t know a song on the radio, I can tap the screen and it will tell me what’s playing. But, to be honest, that situation never comes up.

Over the weekend, I did use it to remotely set the DVR to record a football game. But, by the time I got home, I decided I didn’t care about the game after all.

And I certainly would never pay to get the version of the phone that talks to you. I get enough at work for free.

“Oh, but you can check your email when you’re out of the office.” Fine, but if I don’t even check my email at work, why would I want to check it when I’m out doing something interesting?

The exception that proves the rule is the phone’s ability to deposit checks without any human interaction. I like that one. But only because it plays into my theory of line avoidance.

And I would certainly not stand in line to buy a phone that would prevent me from having to stand in line. At least I don’t think I would, although that question is a little too esoteric to unravel without first having had a couple of beers.

And for the iPhone, people with a wont to stand in line might have to wait a little longer, following the “unpleasantness” at the factory where they’re made.

(I’m surprised there’s not a Pinkerton app that can break some virtual heads at the first sign of labor unrest.)

The plant has 79,000 workers, which gives you an idea about the amount of product that they’re producing. Although it goes to show why I could never be Chinese. Can you imagine the line at the vending machine?

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 6997, or via email at

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