Log in

No account? Create an account
An author of no particular popularity

Jay Lake
Date: 2012-12-05 05:31
Subject: [culture] Waiting, in line or otherwise
Security: Public
Tags:culture, food, personal, portland
I have no patience for waiting, in line or otherwise. Sometimes you have to — airport security, for example — at which point I put on my big boy pants and deal. But I won't wait for a restaurant table or a movie ticket or at a music venue or a festival. My absolute limit for hanging around a restaurant to be seated is fifteen minutes, and that's mostly governed by my laziness in not wanting to go elsewhere. As I've often said, they could be hosting the Second Coming and free chocolate on the lawn, and I won't go stand around for it.

The only real exception for this is when I'm with a friend who really wants to do something, and I want to be with my friend. At that point, I'm not waiting in line, I'm spending time with a friend who happens to be doing something I wouldn't normally do. It's a mental shift.

This means there's places I like around Portland I very rarely get to eat at anymore. The Screen Door, for example, or Apizza Scholls, where it's incredibly difficult to get in unless you show up early and wait for them to open. I love the food at both places, but my life's too short to spend it hanging about for an hour to get a table. (And this ignores my current health issues, which make waiting in line almost literally impossible for me because I cannot stand in one place for more than a couple of minutes without needing to sit down.)

I can't figure out if this is utterly reasonable of me or an irrational tic on my part. I don't suppose it matters much either way. I'm happier not being frustrated by standing around, that's good enough for me.

Do you wait for things? What do you get out of it?

Post A Comment | 21 Comments | | Flag | Link

Kari Sperring
User: la_marquise_de_
Date: 2012-12-05 13:35 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I wait: this may be cultural, as queueing is rather fostered by British culture.
Reply | Thread | Link

Gary Emenitove
User: garyomaha
Date: 2012-12-05 13:47 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Time and time again, I've found the anticipation of something can be better than the actual experience. (Perhaps I've just made lame choices in life, but that's another discussion.) So, the excitement of waiting in line -- whether it's for tickets I really want, or for a ride at an amusement park, or for a restaurant -- can often be equivalent to or surpass the experience at the end of the line.

Remember, I'm great at over-analyzing. I think things through (and through and through) before almost everything. So lines provide a perfect venue for me to analyze what's about to happen. The best scenario is waiting at a restaurant and having a decent amount of time to peruse a menu (something that's rarely offered at the table, and you know the old adage about sending away the waitperson the second time...)

One more thing: a line is a coordinated, organized ritual. So is putting one's name on a list, or taking a number. Milling about in a mob waiting for a door to open is NOT the same thing.
Reply | Thread | Link

User: 19_crows
Date: 2012-12-05 19:02 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I agree with all this.
Reply | Parent | Thread | Link

Laura Anne Gilman
User: suricattus
Date: 2012-12-05 14:10 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I hate being stuck somewhere (traffic, etc) when there's no known resolution, but I don't mind waiting. Part of it's the anticipation - if I'm going to do something I'll enjoy, then the wait is all part of the build-up. If it's something I'm not looking forward to much, then I just go somewhere else in my brain while I'm waiting. Stories build, possibilities play out, sometimes music carries me away, and I can find a zen place to be.

Also, I've found that you learn to be patient when you take a lot of mass transit. The train will come..eventually.
Reply | Thread | Link

A wandering fellow on the long road
User: tsarina
Date: 2012-12-05 14:29 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
There's always something you have to wait for - I find having to wait at the doctor's office far more irritating than waiting in line at the theater. Because I go early and I expect to wait because I'm looking forward to finding my perfect seat. I resent waiting in business/professional scenarios because it is clearly a waste of my time and we're all busy people.

There are events I love waiting for - midnight movies and concerts where we all line up in eager anticipation for the collective experience of glorious art. I enjoy that buzzing atmosphere. But how long I'm willing to wait depends on what I'm going to see. For instance, I would wait all day for David Bowie because he's always going to be the king of this man's heart and seeing him again live would be worth my time.

I don't really like waiting at restaurants because waiting too long for food makes me cranky. I will only wait if I get to wait in the bar.
Reply | Thread | Link

User: scarlettina
Date: 2012-12-05 15:13 (UTC)
Subject: Depends upon the situation
Waiting is a funny thing. I'll stand in line for a film at the Seattle International Film Festival for as much as an hour, 90 minutes, mainly because it means that I'll have a good seat to see a movie I probably won't get a chance to see anywhere else. That rarity of experience makes the wait worth it. If I'm with friends (which I often am in this scenario), it's even better. It's either that or have a book with me.

But Seattle seems to have a culture of patiently waiting, whether it's for a movie or for a bus--everyone's always got a book with them so the time isn't wasted.

I'm not a fan of waiting at restaurants--more than 15 minutes and I leave, looking for a different option.
Reply | Thread | Link

User: e_bourne
Date: 2012-12-05 15:21 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I don't wait in line unless it's something where the waiting in line is part of the event -- for example, I'll wait in line for SIFF, because waiting in line is part of going to SIFF and there's a whole culture around the line itself that's fascinating.

But otherwise, I'm with you. Life is short, lines are long, there's always something else to do.

One of the few exceptions was recently in SF I waited in line with my son and his girlfriend for several hours to get into a restaurant they both really, really wanted to go to. Not my usual thing, but they are seriously into food and this was important so we hung out and I must say that yes, I would wait for several hours again to have that food. It was amazing.
Reply | Thread | Link

User: chris_gerrib
Date: 2012-12-05 15:53 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I personally am not big on waiting in line, and I'm not too keen on waiting for restaurant seats, even if they have a bar. When alone, I'll just eat at the bar - it is the same food.

I don't have an absolute limit on wait time, but in general I'm with you, Jay.
Reply | Thread | Link

desperance: luke
User: desperance
Date: 2012-12-05 16:27 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'm English; of course I wait. I queue. I can form a queue all by myself. And I always have a book to read. Reading-while-waiting-for-something-else is just one of my activities. Last week I did it a lot in airports, during three-hour delays getting in and out of Portland. I may have shrugged*.

*This is quite radical expression of temper, for an Englishman.
Reply | Thread | Link

User: mevennen
Date: 2012-12-05 16:33 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Yes, what Chaz and Kari said. If I think there's going to be a queue, I take a book. I have only once deliberately queue jumped, when I felt ill - 24 years ago and I still feel guilty about it.
Reply | Parent | Thread | Link

mlerules: beach
User: mlerules
Date: 2012-12-05 17:24 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
For an anticipated event, I've managed to shifted my attitude by-and-large such that waiting in line becomes a part of the pleasant event experience, included in my enjoyable anticipation of the movie-opening, concert, getting tix for a show, a D-land ride (max wait 20 minutes for these tho ;-), at times eating a meal (not sure what'll drive my desires here, it's a matter of mood), whatEVER. I like to chat w/people in line, find out why they're there (and why they're waiting). This heightening the anticipation, as I find myself engaging in event foreplay, if you will. Heck, I've made friends in concert lines that I'm in touch w/20 years later and still see for lunch now 'n' again!

Best to hit Appizza Scholes mid-week when there's little line, which works particularly well these cold, dark days when folks're staying home more.
Reply | Thread | Link

User: martianmooncrab
Date: 2012-12-05 18:13 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
some things are worth it, others, not so much, I factor in what I have planned for after, and my pain levels, how I am feeling, the status of who I am hanging out with. If we have a 5yr old with us.

Takeout is really good when life is short.
Reply | Thread | Link

User: dionysus1999
Date: 2012-12-05 18:51 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I hate waiting in line, will go to extreme lengths to avoid it. It is true, however, that waiting with friends can make the time fly by.

I'll go to the grocery before work so I don't have to deal with the crush of humanity after work, though this only works for non-perishables.
Reply | Thread | Link

Max Kaehn: Time
User: slothman
Date: 2012-12-05 18:52 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I grew up riding on public transit, so I learned to wait. And my personal rule is: Always Bring a Book. With modern e-readers, that gets even easier, because I don’t need to bring backup reading material in case I finish whatever I’m currently working on. So what I get out of it is reading time and, quite often, pleasant surprise from people who don’t see a lot of patience in their line of work.
Reply | Thread | Link

User: 19_crows
Date: 2012-12-05 19:01 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I don't mind waiting for a table at a restaurant. I think I've waited up to an hour. If I know I'll get food eventually, I'm fine. It's fun to talk with friends or my spouse - I'm pretty sure I've never eaten out by myself at a place where I had to wait a long time. The only problem would be waiting at a place where they might run out of something or you might never get in.

Waiting for a music venue is similar. Talking with friends in line is part of the fun.

I won't wait in line for a movie, though; I'm just not much of a movie goer.

Airport security is annoying in a different way - I'm stressed out by having to be on time, and carrying a bunch of stuff. But still, not a big deal.
Reply | Thread | Link

User: msconduct
Date: 2012-12-05 22:05 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
What a timely discussion, as my business partner and I were just discussing a new restaurant that's incredibly fashionable in Auckland right now. They don't take reservations and you can wait up to two hours for a table. Although when I say you I don't mean me. I got out for fun, not to hang around outside a restaurant looking at my watch. It seems a popular psychological ploy - creating scarcity increases the perceived value of getting in - but it doesn't work on me.

Even though my heritage is British, I hate queuing. If I can buy the option to bypass the queue, I take it every time.
Reply | Thread | Link

User: klwilliams
Date: 2012-12-05 22:17 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'll wait, because I always have a book (and my iPad), so I can do something useful during the waiting. Waiting in line, on the other hand, is problematic, because like you right now, I can't stand up for very long. Most places don't have benches for sitting on or other accommodation for handicapped people, and since I don't carry a cane or otherwise look disabled, no one will nicely and automatically let me step in front of them.
Reply | Thread | Link

User: silvertwi
Date: 2012-12-05 22:53 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I've found I have more patience for waiting since I started meditating every time I have to wait for something.

However, I can't physically stand in lines for very long, which severely limits my ability to obtain food during peak meal times, because the line to get in to the dining hall gets long, and then every station that doesn't serve pizza has a long line, as well. So I have to plan around these kinds of things when I don't cook for myself. I get impatient waiting, but if I can wait in comfort (or at least am not in pain made worse for standing or sitting around waiting), I can usually manage to meditate or daydream for a while, and that makes things much better.
Reply | Thread | Link

User: anghara
Date: 2012-12-05 23:07 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
There are times when I will wait and times when I will not but on the whole - on the day that God was giving out patience, I was probably stuck waiting in another line somewhere because I got a very limited supply. I don't think there is a restaurant in the world that is worth waiting an hour to get seated in - if I want to eat, I am by definition hungry NOW and not IN AN HOUR'S TIME. Feed me or I'll go somewhere else that will. But I agree with you, waiting with a friend is not so much waiting as hanging out with said friend. SOmewhat slightly different.
Reply | Thread | Link

User: keikaimalu
Date: 2012-12-06 02:31 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I hate waiting on my feet, because they hurt. I hate waiting in the cold, because I get cold easily. I particularly hate waiting in line when I really have to pee.

Absent those conditions, I don't mind waiting too much, particularly if I have something to read.
Reply | Thread | Link

User: willyumtx
Date: 2012-12-07 06:14 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I bring a book with me to most places. Especially if I suspect I will have to wait in line. So the waiting becomes more time for me to read. No problem at all.

If I'm with someone in line then we can talk and hang out. Just like you noted.
Reply | Thread | Link

my journal
January 2014
2012 appearances