Bill Kirby

Online news editor for The Augusta Chronicle.

Kirby: Waiting in lines provides time to be nosy

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Waiting turns men into bears in a barn, and women into cats in a sack.

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– Robert Jordan

Some people don’t like standing in lines. They are far too busy to wait. Their time is important. And they have BIG things to do.

(Yeah, right.)

I rarely have a problem with waiting. Standing in line calms ... me ... down.

I consider it a break. A time-out. A chance to take a deep breath, look around and watch my companions on life’s daily journey. It’s a way to be curious (nosy) without being rude: A little reality show right there in front of you.

Take standing in line at the bank.

People really have fascinating stories to tell bank tellers about their accounts, usually about why the money isn’t in them.

I think bank tellers hear more interesting excuses than fifth-grade math teachers taking up homework. I have heard employers exhorted, in-laws invoked, ex-spouses disparaged, all by someone wearing sweat pants and bunny slippers.

The fact that these explanations are delivered with a straight face adds to the experience.

Now in drug stores lines, more discretion is needed. You try not to stare because people buy things in drug stores they probably don’t want others to notice. Suppositories, feminine products, masculine products, performance aids, performance inhibitors. I try to glance elsewhere, while keeping my thoughts (and opinions) to myself.

I find big discount store checkouts are the most informative of line waits. They give me a chance to catch up on the news. For example, while waiting Thursday night behind what appeared to be Jed Clampett’s family in town for supplies, I read almost every article in a tabloid obviously placed in a rack for my convenience.

That’s where I found out that former President George W. Bush is suffering from Alzheimer’s and can’t remember his years in the White House, the pope is retiring because he is terminally ill and Liza Minnelli’s plastic surgery is a disaster.

I’m telling you, waiting is the best way to stay ahead of the mainstream media.

Grocery store lines are the most fun. Cashiers are chatty. Customers buy in bulk, and things are a bit more out there for all to see. Three bags of chips, two bags of cookies and a 24-pack of Diet Coke. (Insert your own judgmental punch-line here.)

Grocery lines are also more open to customer interaction. You see someone putting a new product on the conveyor in front of you and you are more likely to ask, “Does that stuff work?” or “Does that taste good?”

I’ve seen people share recipe advice in lines. I’ve seen them help each other with small change.

Grocery lines are my favorite ... unless someone in front of me wearing sweat pants and bunny slippers is trying to write a check.

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palmetto1008
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palmetto1008 03/03/13 - 05:04 am
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I suppose if I made a living
Unpublished

I suppose if I made a living writing about standing in line, I wouldn't mind it much either.

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