Waiting in Line Stupidity

Ah, the things we martyrs mothers do for our children! Last week I got up at an unholy hour, braved sub-zero temperatures (please note, dear readers: to a Southern Californian native, such as myself, anything below 60 degrees Fahrenheit is sub-zero. In this case, the temperature was actually a quasi-frigid 41 degrees), and waited in line for over two hours, along with a few hundred other cold, sleepy, bored and increasingly annoyed souls.

I was not waiting to get the last seat at a sold-out rock concert; nor did I await the sale to end all sales at Saks Fifth Avenue. I was seeking to enroll my high school attending son in an Art 101 class that he wished to take at the local community college.

Waiting in line is not too traumatic as long as one is not stuck between a rabid key jingler and a neck and knuckle cracker. I would suggest one long shriek under such circumstances (after warning those in close range to insert earplugs) to relieve the irritation. But I knew, if I, or any of us line waiters gave in to irritation, we’d then rapidly become stupers (short, as you may know, for ignobly stupid persons). Anger can make us stupid.

To combat this potential path to stupidity, I conversed with other line waiters, mostly about the detriments of queue rage and the illuminating case of the MIT University professor who’d gone to a store to buy a bicycle for his son and grown furious when he was made to wait 40 minutes to pick up his purchase in the inventory area, while other people who came after him quickly received their items.

“It took me three weeks to calm down after that,” the Professor said. “I realized, I’m a professor at MIT; I’m usually such a sane, rational person.”

Oh, the ravages of line waiting!

When my turn arrived to register, I battled anxiety, impatience and my quarrelsome side. My goal was to be in and out…in record time. Alas! It was not to be. I became my own worst stuper nightmare…the registrant who monopolizes one of only three open registration windows.

I had accumulated and exhaustively filled out all relevant applications. When I got to the window, Janet, the registrar, said,

“I need to see the student’s actual social security card.”

Before she finished her sentence, my blood began to simmer, heading for the kind of full boil beloved by devoted pasta chefs in high caliber Italian restaurants.

All sorts of creative expletives raced through my head, as I do not routinely carry my son’s social security card, nor anyone else’s. I began silently repeating my mantra of the day, “Every person who crosses me deserves a sound beating my path is a golden link in the chain of my good.” I stood steadfast and serenely stated,

“I’ve talked to numerous counselors and admissions officers. Not one advised me of the need for the card.”

Janet said, “I’ll be right back.” She turned to a woman sitting behind a computer. The woman eyed me and spied the beginnings of steam tendrils escaping my ears. She quickly nodded her head.

“Okay,” Janet said.

I breathed again. Why is it that stupers thrive on digging up stumbling blocks to thwart our small ambitions? Does it make them feel unstuperlike? Is there a certain thrill behind the momentary feeling of power? Or are they honest idiots following some unwritten stuper code? Only a stuper knows for sure.

When placed in an unknown situation, it is of utmost importance to control one’s wits and temper. Had I been uncool and uncollected, I either would have stormed out (which would have made my son, who needed this course to graduate shortly, quite unhappy) or returned home to retrieve the notorious social security card and resumed line waiting.

The more tranquil a man becomes, the greater is his success, his influence, his power for good ~ James Allen

Keep thinking.



7 Responses to “Waiting in Line Stupidity”

  1. Mad Woman says:

    Ahhh I probably would have been just as steamed. There’s nothing worse than people either not giving you all the information or giving you the WRONG info.

    Good reminder though to keep our cool in situations just like this.

  2. Jessica Bern says:

    I was online with the people at TIVO. they had “neglected” to inform AFTER I purchased the damn thing that I needed and extra piece for $70 extra dollars. SEVENTY! i was furious.The girl actually had the nerve to tell me that she would jump through hoops to help me when I complained that I would likely not have purchased TIVO if I had known. And you know how she “helped” me? She offerred to ship it to me for, that rights, the low cost of 70 DOLLARS! WTF?

  3. Suzie says:

    Keli you should know by now, any time you go to public places
    you always run into stupers. Next time pack a lunch bag.

  4. MC says:

    Waiting in line is on the top of my list of pet peeves! Unless, it’s for something fun, like a sale or amusement park ride. Otherwise, sheer torture especially with all the stupidity going around.

  5. Elaine says:

    I am not good at waiting in lines either, especially when you think you’re prepared and have ALL the needed information, then wham! Some stuper waits on you. Your son is indeed a fortunate young man.

  6. Paulyn says:

    Oh yes, Keli, you are definitely an extremely patient lady! I totally detest long lines and try so hard to hold on to my patience when I encounter stupers at the end of a long wait in line!

  7. Jenny says:

    Sounds like a trip to the DMV! No matter how many times you call ahead to make sure you have assembled all the proper documentation, the person at whose window you ultimately end up has a whole different list!

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