Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Game of Queue

In England when they say, "queue up," it means to get in line. Waiting in line is something that children in kindergarten learn the first day of school.  It is universal.  We all have to do it.  Whether at the bank, the traffic light, the movie theater, or at a school play.

Last night, I went to a high school musical.  (No, not the "High School Musical" ---that would have been excruciating.)  A different one.  My daughter was in it.  It was an exclusive play.  Only exclusive because the director decided the audience needed to be on the stage with the actors.  They have a very large stage and put up risers so about 150 audience members could be there--in the scene with the actors.  It was part of the play's comedic attraction.  But 150 seats is nothing in comparison to the capacity of the whole auditorium.  Nevertheless, this musical was going to be performed in this manner.

I only mention the special circumstances surrounding this performance because of the issues it caused.  Normally there would have been enough seats and plenty to spare.  This time, you had to get there early if you wanted a ticket--as there were no early ticket sales.  And then stand in line if you hoped to get a good seat--as seats were not assigned.  All of this was explained to the student performers and they passed on the vital information to their families and friends.

I got there early.  Bought tickets.  And waited in line.  It was going to be an hour wait, but I was happy to do this.  My husband would join me as soon as he got off work and we would get some great seats!  Also, I brought my kindle.  So I could read.

The queue was down a long sloping hallway next to the auditorium.  A railing ran along it and I found my place in line and leaned up against the wall to wait.  It would be a easy wait, I was sure.

Apparently the rules of waiting in line are not as universal as I thought.  The family in front of me had brought a teenage son and several young children.  A boy about 10 years old could not stand still.  I'm not talking about holding perfectly still and quiet.  I've never been that picky.  But this child was practicing ninja kicks.  Over and over again.  At his older brother.  Back and forth across the hallway he would attack.  And every time, his older brother would fool him, and down on the floor he would fall.  Sometimes both boys falling to the floor and wrestling.  And other siblings joining in.  Up, down, back, forth, round after round, and repeated again.  Had I realized at first, I would have given them a wider berth.  But as I hadn't, and people were now lined up behind me, there was nothing I could do but twitch each time a sneakered ninja foot hit the railing or flailed in my direction.  I didn't get any reading done at all.

Close to the time they would let us into the theater, my dear husband arrived.  He took his place between me and the ninjas.  For the remaining 5 minutes, he was my hero.  A buffer between me and the warriors. 

Then they started calling out numbers.  Apparently our seats were not assigned, but our tickets still had numbers on them and we were going to "board" the stage like boarding an airplane. 

"Those with ticket numbers between 1 and 20 may now enter the theater."

(Why did I have to wait behind the Ninjas?  I could have been sitting in the lobby!)

We had tickets 45 and 46.

When they finally called for tickets 40 through 60, we eased forward with the rest of those still in front of us.  Everything was orderly now.  The Ninja family had early tickets and were long gone.  As I was about to hand our tickets to the usher, a lady pushed my husband aside and handed her tickets first.  And then her children squeezed BETWEEN my husband and me.  She didn't say "excuse me."  Her children didn't either.  She simply wanted to get in before us.  And so she did.

Had none of these people ever been to kindergarten?  Did they not know the game of queue?  It is an easy game.  I will list the rules.  Feel free to make copies in case you are ever in a similar circumstance and want to hand them out.  ;)

Rules of Queue:

1.  Wait patiently.

2.  Bring something to do.  (Bring something for your children to do, too.  Something calm and quiet.)

3.  Don't cut in line.  But if you feel you must, do so discreetly.  Don't push and shove and squeeze between people.  Apologize.

4.  If you are in charge, don't put people in line if there is no need for it.

5.  No Ninja kicks.  Ever.  Not even little ones.

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