Field of Science

Bad line karma

I'm not an overly impatient person. I'm not pushy, impolite, or discourteous when waiting in lines. I don't cut in, jump ahead, cut off, or act to someone else's disadvantage. So where did my bad line karma come from?

I ask this after 1 hour of waiting at the Canadian-USA border. The official border is right there, I can almost touch it, but the customs booth is still a couple of hundred yard, and probably close to another hour ahead. Across the expanse of carefully groomed grass and gardens in the median, the backup for entering Canada is barely 10 minutes. Five days ago the line to enter Canada stretched back a kilometer or more and I was an hour and 10 minutes in line, and of the two lanes, the slowest one (right) to boot. So today I decided to stay in the left lane, and the right lane is outpacing the left by a factor of about 1.5 even with merging cars from the duty free shop.

If I pick a grocery store checkout lane, no matter how short it looks, it will immediately bog down. That one little lady buying a single can of food for her little dog will take forever looking for two loose pennies in the bottom of her handbag to make exact change. And then the register will run out of paper tape and have to be replaced before printing her receipt, and then a new checkout person will come with their drawer before it is my turn.

Over and over this happens. If a hell exists, something I think remarkably unlikely, but if mind you it does, it will consist of endless lines, a cue from hell so to speak, an exquisite form of torment.

Even worse I can think of no way to improve my karma. The guy in front of me just changed lanes by cutting off another car that was a tad slow to inch forward. And now he is already 3 cars ahead. My wife says that if I'm so annoyed to do the same thing, but that would require rapt attention and quick reflexes, so I stay resigned to my fate. I hope they strip search the bastard.

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