Queueing, and why I can’t do it

Now apparently we English very good at queueing, Bill Bryson even mentioned it in his book about England. I think its probably even edging its way towards becoming a recognised national trait, you know, in travel guides and stuff.

Unfortunately something has happened in my past, I couldn’t even pretend to know what it might be, that has resulted in me being unable to queue. Seriously. If I see a queue I will do anything to avoid joining it, absolutely anything. I would willingly walk in circles, juggling flaming chainsaws to avoid joining a queue (and I have very bad co-ordination so this would probably result in me losing a limb and then setting myself on fire and maybe dying). That’s how much I hate queueing.

I am generally a very patient person, however for some reason when I am forced to wait, in a line of other people, for a service or product something happens in my brain which results in a strange social freakout.

Some examples;

  • I desperately needed to go to the bank to do some important bank things, there was a queue so I immediately turned around, left the building and went for a completely pointless walk around the block (it was raining, so this was stupid), on returning to the bank I saw the queue hadn’t cleared so I went for another walk around the block. I repeated this 3 times (3 times! this is obviously stupid) before the bank reached a low level of busy-ness where I could walk straight into the bank and be served by the cashier without having to engage in queueing.
  • I needed to get cash out from a cash machine in town, it was saturday so it was busy. All of the cash machines I went to had queues so I ended up walking about a mile out of town to find a not-busy cash machine
  • I have gone without lunch at work on numerous occasions, simply because the canteen was busy

Almost without fail whatever solution I come up with to avoid queueing ends up costing me more time and energy than would’ve been spent simply joining the queue. And the sad thing is, I know this, I am completely aware that it is strange and pointless and a waste of time to go to such weird lengths to avoid standing in a line.

My lovely girlfriend finds this very strange, and she is right to, I find it a bit strange sometimes too. It’s almost like a reflex reaction at times, I’m walking away from a potential queue situation almost before I’ve even noticed what’s going on.

When I am forced to join a queue (e.g. whenever I go to a post office, post offices are never quiet, they ALWAYS have queues) I get incredibly annoyed almost instantly and start thinking things such as: how dare all these people get in the way of my incredibly important business (i realise this is stupid), what about all the important things I could be doing/learning/solving but instead I’m stuck here, that teleportation device won’t invent itself you know! (this is also stupid). And then I get annoyed at myself and how ridiculous a reaction that is to something as simple as basically having to wait.

So yeah, I’m rubbish at queueing.