#173 When you walk straight through one of those empty winding lineup things

Don’t get me started on airports.

Look, I love flying as much as the next guy but sometimes it feels like we’re grunting cows being poked from pen to pen. Check-in, customs, and security mean lines up the yin yang and through it all we’re papery flurries of passports, boarding passes, and carry-on bags.

That’s why it’s heaven when you’re scrambling through a Known Lineup Zone (or “KLZ” for short) and you come across an empty line in its place:

1. The roller coaster after the rain. Thunderstorms scared your fellow families away from the Looping Vortex of Doom. But when the skies clear it’s time to make your move for first sit on slippery slick seats. If you’re super lucky, you may even get that once-in-a-lifetime solo ride, where it feels like you own the amusement park. Funnel cakes for everyone!

2. Using a pay phone anytime. Anybody? else remember pay phone lineups? Anybody else have to get their mom to minivan over to the mall after seeing Ace Ventura for the third time? Anybody?

3. The really popular restaurant at the really unpopular time. Good luck getting into The Cheesecake Factory on Friday night. But Tuesday at 11am? Booth time, baby! Same goes for your office cafeteria before the stir-fry rush or McDonald’s for a sneaky midnight shake.

4. Going to the bathroom in the middle of the movie. Sure, its terrible missing a dream sequence or chase scene, but at least you avoid the sardine tin of heavy bladders after the show.

5. Anything at the airport. Like we said this is the holy grail of KLZ victory. Nothing compares to the thrill of seeing a barren security or customs line, with just a tired old man waiting for you there on a stool, like he suddenly got lost in a world of neon pizza signs and magazine racks and just sat down.

Yes, it’s a beautiful moment skimming through Known Lineup Zones with no lineups around. You can almost pretend the pillars and red velvet ropes were set up just for you so you can smile and wave to your adoring fans as you pull off a dream move like a VIP.

“Can I have your autograph?” they’ll scream, pushing markers and notepads at you with their tiny hands. “Of course,” you laugh back, personalizing every one and taking care to give high fives to all the babies. They’ll scream and applaud and yell questions as you parade through the lineup with ease.

“So what does it feel like?”

“And how would you describe it?”

“Tell us in just one word!”


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29 thoughts on “#173 When you walk straight through one of those empty winding lineup things

    1. AND you can get on it again as soon as you get off! One time I went on a rollercoaster 3 times in a row! :)

  1. This has got to be my favorite submission. This is why I love going to Disney Land fast passes on time, passing all those people who wait for 2 hours in line and giving me the look as a swept pass them.

  2. Some people like to duck under the ropes when this happens. I much prefer winding through the entire glorious emptiness of it all. (:

    You know what else is awesome? … Already having nearly 40,000 fans of Facebook. Go 1000 Awesome Things! :D

  3. And what makes it more awesome at amusement parks is that after the ride you can just run back and ride it again and again with no interruptions! That’s one awesome adrenalin high!

  4. Funny thing is, I just saw this on Candid Camera a couple nights ago. Did you even know that was still on? Anyway… they put those little rope thingys up and made a big maze in front of some museum doors and watched people make their way through the maze when no one was in line. The catch? When you get so far, the ropes just lead you back out instead of to the doors. Very few people went over the ropes to get to the entrance, some kids went under, some people turned around and left, one lady went all the way through the maze from beginning to end and just left when it lead her out. Funny stuff.
    Anyway… I like to wind my way through those ropes. I feel weird if I go around them.

  5. Hahaha, the Looping Vortex of Doom. You make it so worth it to spend my 5-minute-breaks from studying reading your posts.
    Thanks for the much needed entertainment!

  6. I definitely agree with the feeling up being part of a herd of cows. I think about that whenever I’m in a long line (or bunch of people) trying to get into a bus or subway. I smile to myself because it feels absolutely ridiculous. =)

    1. Yes, yes it does. I felt like that when I took my daughter for the first day of school and when the bell rang, we all sort of herded our way in like cattle. I always hate being in that kind of situation.

      1. It really was such a perfect description.

        I’ll never forget, my mom took some of us to an Nsync concert (I’m not ashamed … mostly) and as we were leaving, we were just standing still, stuck in the middle of a crowd. As we finally started shuffling along, I looked at my mom and she goes, “Moooooo…”

  7. LOL. That lineup thing appeared in the Shrek movie, when that poor mascot fellow was scared of Shrek and ran through the whole maze while Shrek just walked straight through it.

  8. Oh my god, when I went to Disney World a four years ago, my mom had determined the statistically least crowded week. We went on Space Mountain 8 times (5 in a row, and then 3 more later), since the lines were so short. But one time, there was NO ONE THERE AT ALL. We got off, ran back around to the entrance, and then jogged through the entire complex. It was amazing.

    1. When I read this comment I had a sudden facebook urge to “like” it because it sounds like such a cool experience! Your mom must be pretty awesome to do that kind of calculation =p

  9. My most memorable experience for this was a few years back with the wife in Paris. Everyone had warned us that if we were going to the Louvre, the lines were going to be re-donk-ulous to get tickets and get into the museum.

    So, being the cautious folks that we are, we decided to try to go early (with a stop for a chocolate crossiant on the way!) and were prepared to wait in an enormous line.

    Well, we walk into the museum lobby, and there wasn’t a single person in front of us in the long snaking line-up ropes! We were like VIPs. It was awesome! :)

    [Another amusing side note about this museum visit. We decided to get the audio-guides (NERD ALERT!!), and had to leave our ID as a deposit while we got the audio guides to tour the museum. Well, halfway through our day, my audio guide ran out of batteries, so we went back to the audio guide booth to swap it out. Well, in the 5 hours that we’d been gone, the audio guide people had GONE ON STRIKE!!! Seriously – there were all these signs about this being a labor dispute, etc.. France is nutty like that, I guess.. Luckily, they had a skeleton crew of one person working to return people’s IDs to them..]

    1. I was there in 1975 and remember it like yesterday:)
      My fav. painting a grandfather cobbling shoes by candle-light with child at side and the flame illuminating their faces. Did you walk the garden maze?
      Ah-mazing story:)

      1. I feel like in France, the odds of that were like, 3-to-1, or so.. I’m of the impression that any particular part of the labor force goes on strike about 3 times per month.. ;)

  10. Do you know if this hotel is pager-friendly?

    What do you mean?

    I’m not getting a sig on my beeper.

    … I’m not sure.

    Is there a payphone bank? Buncha payphones?

    Alan seems like a man who would hate waiting in line for a payphone. ;D
    This awesome thing is SO. GREAT.

  11. I love it! I flew a red eye out of Anchorage in March. It was a Tuesday morning. I felt like it was just me and the big stuffed Grizzly in the whole place.

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