I was standing in line yesterday at my favorite place in the whole wide world waiting to order my drink. A crowd of roughly six people stood before and behind, a fairly informal line for a very relaxed place.
A stressed and hurried woman walks up next to me–right next to me, invasion of personal space next to me–and barks out in a French accent, “There are two lines here? I see two registers. There are two lines.”
“Sometimes there are two, but there’s only one right now,” I said, noting that only one register was occupied by a staff member. She was still way too close to my left arm.
“No, there are two lines,” she said, shoving herself basically in front of me, apparently assuming that I would go to the the register on the right that did not have a staff member attending it.
In the midst of this power struggle some old dude in a strange hat shot in front of me from the right! I was all well and good with letting one pushy, obnoxious person go because, hey, she’s obviously stressed and in a hurry. Anyone who gets that worked up over the number of lines should either have some allowances given or be institutionalized. But this new wrinkle began to test the patience.
My mind began to race. I thought of speaking up. I thought of saying, “Look, I can’t let everybody run in front of me!” But then magic happened.
The man who ran in front of myself and the pushy woman was indecisive. He dropped the ball at the crucial moment and fumbled his order. He occupied the register on the left, the one chosen by the woman who bumped in front of me. At just this moment an employee opened up the register on the right, made eye contact with me, and took my order.
I had my drink and was on my way before the line jumping guy could say “Large caramel latte.”
I take a few lessons from this. 1. Keep your mouth shut in these situations. Things will work out, and if they don’t work out, see point two. 2. It’s amazing what upsets people in day to day life. Petty, petty, petty.
We’ll see if my friends will stop by the cafe today for a rematch.