Waiting in line certainly has changed

Published 10:39 am Monday, January 2, 2012

I do not like waiting in line. I remember waiting in line in my younger days. I remember waiting in line to get into the Beatles concert at Met Stadium in the ’60s. I remember waiting in line in the ’60s to see Tom Jones, again at Met Stadium. I remember waiting in line with my kids to get into the haunted house at Halloween. I remember waiting in line at Universal Studios and Disneyland.

I do not know that I ever liked waiting in line, but when I was younger the anticipation at the end of the line wait seemed worth it. I must have had more patience or more stupidity. Take your pick.

My waits in line were not earth shattering or dangerous. It was fun at times waiting in line. People were polite and we met and made new friends. When it was time for the doors to open it was orderly and we didn’t have to worry about being trampled. There seemed to be an unwritten code in lines that I was in that we treated each other respectfully.

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I have never that I can recall waited in line for hours and days to buy the latest and greatest item. I don’t remember people doing that in my younger years. We would wait for a concert or a cause that we felt was important but not to buy a mega hyped material piece of goods.

I was amazed when I listened to WCCO recently as the new Air Jordans went on sale. I woke up to the newscaster telling us that there were thousands waiting in line outside of the Mall of America for these shoes. They proceeded to explain that they were letting four people at a time into the mall. The picture of disbelief that popped into my head was probably pretty silly. I could not imagine shopper frenzy that would get out of hand over a pair of expensive shoes.

I would later stare in disbelief at my television screen when they televised pictures from across the country of the violence and injuries that occurred because of the rush and the greed to get these new Air Jordans. People were arrested, stores vandalized and people were hurt and injured all in the name of a pair of shoes.

I must admit I cannot imagine that kind of want for an expensive item. A want that puts aside caring for people, respect for property and incites violence.

I could understand this response of the people waiting in line at soup kitchens and food shelves because their basic want plus need is food because they are hungry. I could understand this kind response for people waiting in line for help after a natural disaster because they have no water and they have no home and they have no shelter.

I could understand that type of response for those waiting for medical care in countries where the only care is those doctors and nurses that have volunteered to help the poor and the sick. Some people wait for days in line in those countries just to see a doctor.

I could understand if the response we saw for the Jordan shoes was the response of the people that were waiting in line for needed services. I could understand the type of response that we saw for the shoes being carried out in desperation for food, water, shelter and medical care.

We often do not see headlines about the poor and needy trampling over others, causing violence and destruction as they wait for services. Perhaps it is because those who are truly in need understand what is important and the difference between wants and needs. Perhaps those who are standing in line waiting for services understand and walk in the shoes of the person next to them. Even in their need they can let the greed go and reach out to those around them without the violence.

The next time I am waiting in line or camping out to see my idol Robert Redford I think I will arm myself with silly string instead of pepper spray and offer a helping hand to my neighbor because at our age our dash would be a shuffle. A laugh and a shuffle instead of a scuffle.

“We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.” — Fred Keonig

Wells resident Julie Seedorf’s column appears every Monday. Send email to her at thecolumn@bevcomm.net.