The important Line Debate

I got a walking app yesterday. It shows me how many steps I take every day. I didn’t start it until late and just walked to a store a little ways away. In terms of how much ground I usually cover in a day, this was nothing. And it was 2400 steps. If I had this app when I started traversing the city, I would have had 2400 million steps.

Went to the Met a couple days ago and saw the Sargent exhibit, portraits of his friends and commissioned work.  I’m more a fan of the later work with broad, seemingly wild brush strokes. But these portraits were exquisite. The Met is a delicious gem, inside and out. It’s a treat to wander and get lost in there, and I like that you can pay what you wish.  I met some ladies standing in line in the ladies room. “If a woman designed this building, there would be more bathrooms!” “Went to the ballet yesterday and it was ridiculous…and they won’t let you back in your seat if you’re even a minute late.”  I’m not here to talk about women’s bathrooms, it’s a subject near and dear, but there will be no solution to the problem unless we can learn to pee standing up.  But I do want to talk about lines. Whether one stands ON them or IN them. Because when someone says she is waiting ON line, I want to ask, where is this line? Because I don’t see a line ON the floor. There is actually some debate about this and I don’t know if it’s a New York thing or not. It’s not really worth getting worked up about, because this will not change, but it is curious and irritating to a Midwesterner.

New Yorkers stand in a lot of lines. At the bakery, at the bus stop, Trader Joes. I saw a line yesterday at a clothing store on 3rd Avenue. The line was winding around the block. It was a store that sells jeans, so maybe they were giving them away or something.  People here are resigned to be in lines, nobody’s nerves get jangled. When I first got here, I was practically insulted that I had to stand in a long check out line at a women’s clothing store – a really long line. People were just waiting, chatting, looking through the little bins of crap nobody needs but they put them where you have to stand for 10 minutes.  I was wondering why nobody was grousing (um…almost nobody.) Then the clerk would call out, “Next on line?”

Someone I know said when he arrived here he got so worked up over always having to stand in a line. When you’ve been here awhile, he said, you get used to it. It’s true. You head out knowing you will be standing in 4 or 5 lines that day. And one day you get to your favorite coffee shop and there’s no line AND the sticky buns are still there at 10:00.  And you take time to appreciate those fleeting moments. I won’t be standing ON line, but now I’m resigned to being in one, however long. It’s New York.

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