Wait Your Turn

I'm always in awe at the selfishness and impatience of people. I see it on a regular basis in church of all places, where an increasing number of parishioners get on line to receive communion prior to people sitting in the pews in front of them. It's not like they're going to run out, and I don't understand how people who've clearly been going to church longer than I've been alive can't wait for the people sitting in front of them to get up first. I can somewhat understand this confusion in the absence of an usher, but I've been to masses where the usher is standing in the aisle letting one row out, and people further back walk around the guy like he's not even there. I'm not sure why, but this bothers me as much as people who drive on a shoulder when there's a traffic jam. Sometimes I'll get up and stand in the aisle, and wait until the rows in front of me filter out, blocking the people behind me in the meantime.

When I went to see Iron Man, the movie theater was not yet open. A marathon had no doubt delayed many of the staff, and people began forming a line simply to get in the theater. Some, like us, had ordered in advance, while others needed to go to the window in the lobby. As we waited, we noticed latecomers arrive and mill around the doors, rather than walk to the back of the line.

Again, I didn't understand the impatience. Unless the projectors were on a timer, chances were some of the showings weren't going to start exactly on time if the staff was missing. A line moving in an orderly fashion and separating in the lobby would go much faster than everyone trying to cram through the doors at once like the Stooges. Sure enough, when the doors finally did open a few minutes before the first show, the people by the door tried to bypass the line. We weren't the only ones to express displeasure, and a veritable chorus of marvelous trademark New York “Ay!”s and “Whoah!”s broke the silence of the morning. “We already GOT tickets!” protested a father setting a bad example for his children. “So do WE!” countered our disgruntled choir, “This is the line to GET IN!”

Defeated, the man took his rage out on his youngest son, tugging at him impatiently and whining about getting in. “SHUT UP!” said the man, “How about THAT? How does ‘SHUT UP' sound to ya?” B13 chuckled to the rest of us, “Shut up, Daddy made an ass of himself in front of the crowd!” I guess selfish parents will spawn selfish children, as kids learn by example. I'm genuinely concerned about the next generation.

In a deli at lunch on Thursday, I overheard some kids talking. Beyond the fact that they were off school grounds and unsupervised in the middle of the day, one girl was telling her friends how another girl's father walked in on her and her boyfriend in a, shall we say delicate situation. “Her dad didn't yell at her,” said the girl with a tone of admiration, “He just closed the door and quietly told the guy to show himself out. Later on her parents said it was okay for the boy to come over but they had to be mature and discreet about it.” What does that even mean?? If I had a daughter in high school and I caught a dude in her room, I'd be tossing him out the front door Al Bundy style. Yes, this is the state of the world; I just referenced Al Bundy as an example of responsible parenting.

Have things changed so much since I was a kid, or were my folks just stricter than most parents? I think once in elementary school I cut ahead of everyone else at a picnic, and proceeded eating cookies at a table over the dish that everyone else would be taking food from. My mom pulled me aside, and explained that it was rude on several levels, not just dropping crumbs and being disgusting, but not letting others have a chance to eat as well. It's hard to imagine that kid grew up to be a man who won't eat food in a restaurant until everyone at the table has gotten a plate, but I also had a lot of polite friends who set good examples as well.

There are those who will say it is foolish to wait or step aside. These people run red lights, cut in line, cheat and take every short cut to get ahead. These people seem successful and happy, but is it right? The last time I was at a karaoke party, not wanting to hog the mike as I'd done in the past, I remember expressing disappointment that I was waiting and a lot of people were picking songs I had wanted to sing. “That's probably a metaphor for life,” pointed out a girl sitting next to me, but I'm not sure I agree. I had a reader recently write me to say that this blog was “silly” and I could probably make money with a more focused blog, analyzing episodes of Lost. I'm not sure everything in life has to have a dollar amount, that every action we take needs to result in personal gain. It goes against my upbringing. Perhaps this isn't a world in which good things come to those who wait, but I'm still waiting for that to change.


Blogger Rey said...

You know the comment he made about silly blog wasn't meant to be a slight on your blog. Him and his wife were amazed that you gave a concise and cohesive Lost theory referencing characters by their character-name (even though they weren't major players) and managed to make it an interesting read in the same time.

He was actually telling me that you have a gift. Don't sell yourself short.

5/09/2008 12:15 AM  

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