Get In Line

Regular readers know we aren’t good waiters. Lines do not thrill us. Some people find themselves very comfortable standing still behind tens of other people also standing still. We don’t. We especially don’t want to be behind many other people waiting to eat. Just a few days ago we got to combine our displeasure of waiting with our dislike for lines.

It was over the weekend that we were at one of our favorite things, a springtime maple festival. Being in the American north east we are surrounded by maples. Trees in general take up almost every square foot of land around that hasn’t already been turned into Class A office space or $300,000 McMansions. (Has anyone else noticed that nobody ever builds Class B office space? What if we don’t want private elevators, multi-zone climate control, and integrated security/entertainment software? But that’s a post for a different day.)

We were saying, trees in general are big here. And among them, oak and maple top the list. You can’t get anything out of an oak except some really cool shade in the summer and habitats for little woodland creatures all year long. And a lot of maples will never yield more than solid wood furniture. But the sugar maple has that special something running through its veins, if it had veins for anything to run through. And that something is sap and with enough sap you get syrup and with syrup you get the classic Maple Festival. If it’s indeed a classic, you have hot, homemade pancakes. With pancakes made out of freshly milled flour and fresh boiled syrup you get lines. Lines of well over a couple hundred people long waiting for hours to get to the pancakes to pour the syrup over. We don’t understand it.   We’ll buy the flour and the syrup and have our own. And while everyone else is standing in line, we’ll visit the hundred or so vendors that show up with the handmade crafts to sell while the festival folk sell their handmade syrup. We like it. We buy it. We just don’t want to stand in a line for it.

Yet many do. And as we were driving ourselves home that afternoon we started to wonder, just what would we be willing to stand in line for. We’ve never stood in line for tickets to concerts or theaters or sporting events. We’ve gone to many but we don’t pitch a tent the night before to get the best seat. With a few exceptions, the best seat is usually the one in front of the television anyway. We’ve never stood in line for a store to open on Black Friday. We would stand in line to go back to bed the day after Thanksgiving but not to buy one. We once stood in line to get three (yes, three) autographs of three (yes, three) hockey players. If we were so fond of baseball or opera or professional badminton we might have once stood in line for autographs of their great ones but we aren’t so we didn’t and even for hockey we might not again.

Some lines you have to stand in. You’ll never board a plane without first standing in line at the security checkpoint and then again at the gate boarding ramp. If you didn’t print your boarding pass at home the day before add the line at the ticket counter to get one of them before you hit the other two. And if you check baggage through there are lines to check it and then to wrestle it off the conveyor belt. With luck, you’ll never have to stand in the line to determine where they lost it. Airports are not happy places for people who don’t like lines.

And what about you? Line stander, line jumper? Line aficionado, or line abhorrer? Oh, did we mention that in order to get to that festival with the line of people waiting for their pancakes we had to wait in line for the shuttle to take us to the festival grounds? We had no choice; it was either that or walk 3 miles from the parking lot. We know where to draw the line.

Now, that’s what we think. Really. How ‘bout you?


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