What’s the sitch with the race against the guy who got into the other line at the same time you got into your line?
“I’m gonna totally wreck this dude. He stands very little chance against my bobbing and weaving, against the agility I bring to the table. His side is slow, they aren’t coordinated or alert at all. I don’t like his face, he looks like a damn Neanderthal. He wants to win SO bad, I can tell, but what he doesn’t know is he’s up against the BEST. I don’t lose, and if I do, it’s never through fault of my own. Step by step, I’m inching ahead in this contest of strength and mental toughness. Not only is superior ability on my side, but luck as well; I found a shiny, heads-up Abe Lincoln not 15 minutes ago. If that isn’t a sign of how this will end, I don’t know what is. I’m going to beat him.”
This is an inner monologue I experienced recently. But it was not transcribed while I was playing soccer, or basketball, or about to enter a boxing ring. This occurred while in the security line at an airport.
As we grow older and are further removed from the team sports of our youth, it becomes harder to find outlets for the competitive juices that still flow thick in our blood. One situation that really peaks my testosterone levels is when there are multiple lines formed, for whatever reason, and someone else gets into an adjacent line at almost the same time you take a place in yours.
This could be at the concession stand at a ballgame, in a grocery store checkout area, on a multilane highway of cars in stop-and-go traffic during rush-hour, next to a porta-potty bank at a festival, or most intense of all, at the security line in an airport.
It seems as though in these ordered, one-step-at-a-time races, the outcomes are mostly due to chance. But it would be pretty hard to explain my 94% winning percentage if there weren’t some measure of skill involved.
You gotta scope the lines out first. Which one is shorter, basic shit. Quickly assess all of the workers serving the lined-up people, judging their speed and line-management abilities. Pick the line that feels right, and do it quickly. Get a little head-start on the person who’s day you’re about to ruin. They know who they are.
Another good move is to flash a few annoyed looks at your line’s cashier, indicating that you’re in a particular hurry, and that they should pick up their pace. Every little bit helps. If someone in front of you isn’t paying attention, let them know when it is their turn. Be creative. Help an elderly person with their luggage, if it comes to that.
Lastly, and very rarely used, is the straight-up budge. Not an easy one to get away with in a civilized society. But sometimes, maybe in a less organized line, if you assert that it is your turn, you’ll get helped a little earlier. Open your eyes people... it happens every damn day.
Pick someone to race who looks like fair competition, but who you viscerally don’t like at first glance. Could be for any small reason, from stupid haircut to douchie luggage to annoying eyebrows to nice car to dumb shoes... whoever you choose, give ‘em a skeptical glance followed by a head to toe look over. Then face back toward your line, shaking your head and smiling a bit. Now they know, the race is on. If and when you are victorious, thank your cashier person sincerely and strut out of there, maybe looking back at the loser you’ve left behind.
Some people don’t have the guts to compete at the highest level, and I understand that. It gets real out there, real fast. Not everyone is destined for greatness. I guess they’ll just get to where they’re going a little bit more slowly than me.