Here's who's next to you in line

  • Updated: August 20, 2014 - 5:38 PM
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Air travelers waited in line to go through TSA security screening at the airport.

Photo: Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune

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The first-nighter. She’s there for the bragging rights. Willing to arrive hours early to be the first to see the blockbuster movie or buy the newest smartphone, never minding that her exclusivity will last only a few hours — until everyone else catches up.

The gapper. Never pays attention to the line moving, so huge gaps form in front of him. Eventually he notices, so he isn’t actually delaying our getting to the front of the line. But he is denying us the opportunity to keep inching forward.

The chatterer. This person decides that we are their new BFF — or will be for the duration of the wait — so they strike up a conversation regardless of whether we show the slightest interest in what they’re saying. (See also “captive audience.”)

The announcer. A variation on the chatterer. This person is convinced that their conversation is so scintillating that it shouldn’t be limited to the people right next to him. So he talks REALLY LOUD, often into a cellphone, which, were we on the other end of the line, we would have muted long ago.

The fumer. She’s under the impression that everyone else is having the time of their lives, so takes having to wait in line as a personal insult. You’ll never convince her otherwise, so the best approach is to agree that the entire world hates her. After listening to her for a while, you will.

The narrator. This purveyor of TMI thinks he’s being helpful by reporting how the line is moving, estimating how long it will take to reach the front and predicting that whatever it is we’re waiting for — the tickets, food-truck special — will be gone by the time we get there.

The undecided. No matter how long she’s had to ponder what she wants to order, she’ll inevitably be dumbfounded when she finally reaches the front of the line and has to make a choice. Her questions only make it worse: “Does the fish taco contain seafood?”

The confused. If there are multiple lines, these unfortunate souls end up in the wrong one. They’ll be in the “pick up here” line instead of “order here,” or go to the will-call window to buy tickets. (We hate to think what happens when they get in the queues outside the restrooms.)

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