It's well-known that I possess a near-pathological freak factor when it comes to people cutting in front of me in line. Daniel, especially, is well-versed with all the signs. Like when we're at Willy's trying to order tacos and some shit-mongering line-breaker-inner tries to slide his oily self in front of us. I'll start hyperventilating and waving my arms around like an asthmatic albatross, and depending on his mood, Daniel will either drag me out of there by my hair or just sit back and watch the show, because he knows I'm half a second away from shrieking in public.
There is almost nothing that makes me more furious than all those nose-picking dickbrains who don't wait their turn. And there are so many varieties, such as the kind who stand beside you and inch their way in front. Or the kind who create another line using someone in front of you as the start point, so that the line is branching off in a fork, and the worst part about this is that people coming afterward now see a forked line so they might start standing behind the guy who is the shit-mongering line-breaker-inner, because whadda they know?
Then pretty soon, the forked line will get bigger than your real line and you have to leave it up to the cashier to say, "The end of the line is over there, folks," which only happens maybe half the time because whadda cashiers know? They hardly even cashier anymore; all they do is stand there and say, "Press 'yes' if you want no cash back," which is so freaking bizarre. Why would I press "yes" if I want no cash back? Wouldn't I press "no" if I want no cash back? But no, not on this particular register. The very next register at the very next place you go, now, on that register you press "no" if you want no cash back, because that place is different and that register is different and that cashier is too busy rolling her eyes at people pressing no when they mean yes and yes when they mean no to police any shit-mongering line-breaker-inners who won't wait their turn.
So it's up to me to shriek in public. It's the only way to maintain order, or at least to keep people from cutting in front of me, and that maintains an order in my head. I've often tried to analyze this, even going so far as to consider that, maybe -- it could be possible -- maybe just allowing the line-breaker to break in line would be better in the long run. I mean, I wouldn't have to shriek, which in turn would mean my heart wouldn't have to race, which in turn might keep a couple of molecules from fraying from the synapses in my brain, which in turn might mean those molecules would add up to more Alzheimer's-free days at the end of my life, which in turn might mean that, decades from now, I'll be perfectly lucid in case my daughter seeks my advice about her future boyfriend who she falsely suspects is fucking the bass player in his band, which in turn would mean they fall deeper in love, have a daughter themselves, name her after me, and she in turn goes on to invent the world's first effective incubator for cloning human hearts.
So, you see, it's possible to save the world by not getting bent just because someone cuts in front of you – but I still can't help it. I've tried to cure myself, I swear I have. I even practice sometimes by saying, "By all means," (adding a gracious arm sweep) while alone in my home for the inevitable next time a shit-mongering line-breaker-inner strikes, but it hardly ever works.
After the last time I detonated, Daniel brought over a DVD called The Secret. Evidently there was one person left on Earth who hadn't seen this DVD and it was me. In short, The Secret is a very creative explanation for how our daily sentiments attract energy of similar ilk. This philosophy turns out to be somewhat parallel to my own belief about fears, because I believe that whatever you fear you'll inevitably manage to manifest somehow.
For example, I attract shit-mongering line-breaker-inners like maggots to rotten meat, so what the hell is it about them that I fear? What?
Then all of a sudden, I knew what it was. I'm afraid, standing in line there, that all life has to offer is on the other side of the cashier, and when someone breaks in line, it's that much more time between me and the meaningful rest of my life.
But I have to laugh, because doesn't it always seem like something is between you and the meaningful rest of your life? Doesn't it always seem that if only there wasn't that thing there, interfering, you could get on to the enriching other side? But that thing is there, and you're stuck, waiting for it to move forward so you can, too. But a line is just a line. It's not a barrier, it's not a brick wall, it's not a delineation between the mundane and the meaningful. It could be queued at a cashier or drawn in the sand. You can leave it. You can step over it. You can wait in it. You can do so many things other than shriek in public, because in truth, there is no other side. We're all on the same side.
Hollis Gillespie is an award-winning humor columnist, NPR commentator, "Tonight Show" guest and author of two acclaimed memoirs, Bleachy-Haired Honky Bitch: Tales from a Bad Neighborhood and Confessions of a Recovering Slut and Other Love Stories. To register for her writing workshops, The Shocking Real-Life Writing Seminar, visit www.hollisgillespie.com.
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