I’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.
Lines 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]