I Don’t Do Lines

Screen Shot 2014-02-23 at 9.16.47 AMI’ve come to the conclusion that life is about lines. There are so many lines in this world. Grocery lines, bank lines, lines of cocaine. Even virtual lines—printer cues, website holds, and “You’re next in line for customer service” on chat. “Next” always seems the longest place in line.

Screen Shot 2014-02-23 at 9.29.49 AMLines define people. In foreign countries you can pay people to wait in lines for you. Here, if you pay a little extra, you can skip lines entirely or they’ll create an “elite” line just for you. If you make way too much money you can snort lines, and if you’re just a normal person like me, you wait in lines. And wait again. And when you are done waiting, you find another line to wait in.

Sometimes I pick the longest line, just because I know it’s my station in life.

Now, I am waiting in line at the airline kiosk. My boarding pass won’t come up.

“Um, I don’t know,” says the girl at the counter. The person at the end of the line is supposed to know. It’s why we wait in lines.

“Can you wait in that line, please?” The big line. I don’t want to go. If I complain, she’ll send me to the Really Big Line way over there. I have a flight to catch.

Never piss off someone who’s whole function in life is processing lines. I look at my watch. I don’t mind a line when I know the end result’s something cool–groceries, a cup of coffee. I connect with people around me in the line. But now, the only thing I want to connect with is a plane. Airport lines are a mystery. No guarantees. Will they let me on the plane? Or will there be some “problem.”

Cancelled. Delayed. Out to lunch. On vacation.

Interesting, isn’t it, that airlines can change everything, but if I do, “That’ll be five hundred dollars, please.” or “Would you like to pay an extra $31 to skip the line?”

I wait in three lines and discover that my airline isn’t my airline at all. They’re merging. I must wait in another airline’s line. Three terminals away. “Not far,” says the linemaster. She must be a distance runner. I run, hike, and roll luggage the mile to the other terminal. Quickly, because I fear that line will send me to another line.

I wait in line for my boarding pass and get directed to the next line.

The line that for looks through my computer and my shoes. The line for the proctology exam and pat down. The line with the lady who looks at my boarding pass and asks me my name to make sure I memorized it correctly. And the line with the guy that tries to get my stuff off the belt as it topples on me while I get dressed in public.

Finally the coffee line. It’s the only one I wanted.

Last of all, the line at the gate, behind the “elite” people who paid $31 extra to skip the line. I smile. I get on the plane last.

It takes off. Waiting to bring me to the next airport. Which, no doubt, will be full of lines.

[images: cnn.com and cdn.geardiary.com]


An Idiot Avoids the Genius Bar

I didn’t really want to go to the Genius Bar. Not that there’s anything wrong with geniuses. Technically, I am one. I know this because they made me take a test in second grade. Naturally, I won’t retest. That would just be stupid. My IQ can only go down, and most likely probably has. I’d rather walk around with a superiority complex than find out I’ve been reduced to the “far below average” category where I so richly belong–if they tested for common sense in there, I’d need a category lower still.

For this reason, I need a genius to help me fix my computer. I try to do it myself by Googling and getting deep into the Mac forums, but sometimes I need someone to walk me through it like I’m five. Of course, when I was five, none of this would have been invented. The the local genius would’ve handed me a pencil, troubleshot it by putting it in the sharpener, and walked away.

My computer’s slow and freezing. I have the Cadillac of iMacs in addition to the laptop, but I also have a six-year old who’d commandeered it for Netflix. I kicked him off in favor of work. It took me an hour the other day to clean the screen.

“Buddy,” I said, “Remember, this one isn’t a touch screen like the iPod or Kindle.” That’s me pretending to be tech support.

“And the iPhone?” he said. He knows his devices.

“Yes, like the iPhone. This one you don’t touch. It took Mommy a really long time to clean it so we can see.” He looked at me and blinked two times.

“I didn’t touch it with my finger,” he said, “I touched it with my wax. And put gum on it.” Some kid at school gave him a ball of wax constructed from mini-cheeses. I’d like them to find a better use for it than coloring my iMac display.

We can’t share computers forever. The only thing to do is to go to the Genius Bar, where real geniuses reside. Except it’s Christmas shopping season. The fear of God strikes me down. Not that I’ll be tempted to buy, but it’s crazy in there. Everyone in the world needs an iPad Mini NOW. I’m scared. I take a deep breath and start to make my appointment.

But when I look, there is another option. I can chat with a genius now and avoid all that.

I spoke with Adela the Awesome. She didn’t make me feel like the idiot I probably am. Even when she made me empty the trash to the tune of 33K items, she waited with me, like I was actually intelligent. I was taking notes. I want to be smart like Adela one day. I promise myself I’ll empty the garbage more in the future. And clean out caches. And do whatever I did to reset the PRAM which involved using twenty fingers and a combination of key pressing that only a gamer or six-year old could actually do. Adela made me feel competent as I tried six times to get it right.

I think, in fact, this whole thing was another IQ test disguised, so that I can actually see how much I’ve declined. I’m waiting for Apple to email me or post my score. But as long as laptop works, I’m okay with the fact that the world is smarter than me. That means there’s someone to lift me up when I need it.

And I didn’t have to go to the mall during Christmas.