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Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Line 'em up

Sorry for the lack of posts the past two days.

On second thought, no I'm not sorry. The wife and I needed to get away for some peace and sanity. So we went to the Orlando area for the weekend so I could veg out and so she could hunt for old crusty stuff. I think they call 'em antiques.

Anywho this afternoon on the drive back south to the world's friendliest region we stopped at a roadside rest area to grab a quick bite and let the dog stretch his legs.

She walked the dog, and I went inside. So I picked a place to eat and went to stand in line. When I walked up there were two cash registers open. One line was longer than the other. Being the dunce that I am I got behind a group of three women at one register, who were already standing behind another woman, when there were only two guys at the other register.

After waiting five minutes and seeing the line in front of me not move, I walked over to the other register which was now down to just one guy. He paid his tab and walked away to wait for his food. I stepped up and placed my order. But as the cashier was handing me my change, one of the women from the other line reached out to me and said "Hey, we were next you know?"

My response? "Yeah, but you're standing over there at that register, not over here at this one."

Her: "Yeah, but we were here before you."

Me: "Sorry, but you chose to stand in that line and wait it out. I didn't want to wait for that cashier, so I came over here to this one."

Her: "That's not cool, dude."

Her girlfriend: "What the f---? You got a problem?"

Let us pause and reflect for a moment. Till this point I'd been trying to be civil. No one likes to get their feathers ruffled in a public madhouse. So I was trying to be nice. But they had to go and talk to me like they didn't have good sense, so all bets were off.

Me to the first woman: "Them's the breaks."

Me to the second one: "And no I don't have a problem. What I have is a better place in line than you."

Both of them nearly in unison: "You're supposed to step aside for the person who was in front of you."

Me: "The person who was in front of me just placed his order and is now standing over there digging through his bag of food, which I plan on doing sooner than you."

The first one: "You're an a--hole."

Me: "Yeah, but I'll be eating before you."

The first one: "Dude, we were just gonna order three drinks."

Me: "I'm just ordering one sandwich. What's your point?"

The second one: "We can do something if you want!"

Let's pause for more reflection. You should know that these women were, shall we say, rough in appearance, covered in tats and nearly as big as me. Laugh if you must, but the second one was shaking her arms loose the way a boxer does before a fight. She even balled up a fist and was all fidgety - what we would have called "breaking bad" when I was a kid. Top that with her "we can do something" quote, which, where I'm from, amounts to challenging a person to a fight, and suddenly I had an epiphany about fair fights. Ann Coulter recently defended her criticism of a group of 9/11 widows by saying the women had been deemed untouchable and that it was an unfair fight for people with opposing views, because any criticism of these women's views would be taken out of context. Now, don't misconstrue my comments to mean I agreed with Ms. Coulter's criticisms. I don't care what your politics are. The words you choose can take credibility away from your argument. So I kinda thought Coulter's shots were mean and unnecessary. But at this moment in the rest stop I was thinking about the unfair fight defense: "This woman is about to hit me, I think! What can I do?" We can step outside of chronology for a moment and say that ultimately she did not hit me. But if she had hauled off and slugged me, she could've done some damage. She was big. But what could I have done? Punched her back? Yeah, right. I've told you guys I'm too pretty to go to jail. I'd have been a pariah, clowned on every talk show, booed by little old ladies, girl scouts, and politicians itching for re-election. So I would've had to take my beating and done nothing. Back to the chat.

Me: "No we can't - do anything, that is. You're not my type."

The second one: "Dude, next in line, hello!"

Me: "Listen, if this had been the type of line where we were all in one big queue and it was set up so that the next in line went to the next available register this would be different. But it's not that kind of line.

The first one: "You don't get it."

Me: "One last example, then I'm recommending you guys for remedial classes. If we were both in the grocery store and you finished your shopping and approached the registers ahead of me, but chose to step into line one, that's your decision. I approach the registers two minutes later, and I choose line two. Line one is shorter, but line two moves faster. Am I supposed to make way for you, 'cause you sort of got there before me?"

Them: Silence and pouting.

Me: Whistling.

The second one: "You're an idiot."

The cashier: "Here's your food, sir. Have a nice day."

Me: "And you guys pick slow lines and are hungry. Peace!"


  • I bet after you got past the second sentence of your explanation they were most likely... lost.

    By Anonymous MiamiGirl, at 9:36 AM  

  • Awesome, just...awesome. Way to go, James!

    By Anonymous Adlib, at 10:34 AM  

  • What's really sad here? Hello? There were TWO of them! One of them could've taken the second line and whoever got their first placed the order!

    If you wait a few seconds to see if anyone is going to switch lines and no one does, how can anyone hold that against you? They were too slow to get their first. When it's not a one-line situation, you can't say 'that's our place in line.'

    By Blogger Manola Blablablanik, at 1:41 PM  

  • You were right on the money. I would have let them cut if they bought my food.

    By Anonymous Big Daddy, at 4:06 PM  

  • Ha ha ha ha. I would have smacked her after her first remark. Conversation ended.

    By Blogger Rune, at 1:11 AM  

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