Friday, January 16, 2004
Queues BluesPerhaps in Noo Yawk, but certainly not in the polite northwest: Americans do not know how to queue.
My daily commute involves a ferry ride, at the start and and end of which we line up to board and disembark. No thanks to this ridiculous concept of 'personal space', the line is straggly and unprofessional. Particularly when we come in to dock, I am driven crazy with impatience. I goes like this:
- Half way across Puget Sound, the dithery crowd rises from their benches and forms a loose line *inside*, blocking access to the door and the empty deck.
- Ten minutes from docking, the next ranks form, politely taking their place behind the ditherati.
- Five mins from docking there is a sudden and mysterious surge forward by the line, closing ranks to half its previous length but everyone still keeping wide berths of their neighbour.
- *Finally*, as the gangplank lowers, we behave as if we are truly interested in exiting the boat.
Interestingly, the competent queuers always line up on the opposite side of the boat to the gangplank - and we always make better progress than the rival line of shuffling sheep.
But I tell you - give me 20 stalwart Hong Kong commuters off the cross-harbour Star Ferry, place them at the rear of the boat and let them move only when the gangplank is descending and, by my troth, I'll wager a sack of butt that they'd infiltrate the locals, fill those damn'd useless gaps, and be on dry land before anyone else.
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