#56 Lineup friends

Have you ever waited in a really long line?

I’m not talking five minutes getting to the bathroom at half-time, ten minutes sock-slipping in airport security, or even fifteen minutes outside the movies opening night.

I’m talking about those forever-long lines that hit you like a hammer. I’m talking about brand new rides at amusement parks, driver’s license renewals before the weekend, and those ones winding around sketchy warehouses before the concert doors open.

If you’re stuck in a really long line you probably do what I do and chat with friends while sending one hundred text messages. But at some point you get bored. Batteries die, conversations dry, and you’re twiddling your thumbs when the three-step process to making Lineup Friends suddenly happens:

Step 1: We can have lots of fun… by complaining together! Somebody moans about the wait and a stranger chimes in. “Seriously, is this line even moving?”, “Yeah, I know, it’s like, didn’t they plan for this?” Bam! — suddenly you’re in this together! How dare they make us wait? Now we’re a team against the invisible amusement park titans. Lineup Acquaintances are made.

Step 2: There’s so much we can do. Chances are good that your new Lineup Acquaintance and you have lots in common. Are you waiting outside a punk show? Time to talk about your fresh nose piercings. Are you standing with crying toddlers at Space Mountain? Discuss how to shut those yappers up. Suddenly the conversation is rolling…

Step 3: It’s just you and me. Step 3 involves talking with your new friend all the way to the front of the line. It’s important to switch topics repeatedly and keep the friendship bubbling.

Step 4: I can give you more. Swapping contact details seals the friendship. Sure, it’s a bit risky asking your Lineup Friend for their digits — but emailing them a photo you took or sending them that recommendation you were talking about is all fair game.

Yes, we all live in our own worlds so it’s great busting out of smeary dreary worlds into new friendship territory. Lineup friends make the time pass, keep the jokes coming, and brighten our days with new connections.

Lineup friend, don’t you know that the time has arrived?


Wow, thank you! The Book of Awesome has now been on the bestseller list for 88 weeks! Below are some foreign covers from around the world… see if you can guess the countries without checking.

46 thoughts on “#56 Lineup friends

  1. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of lining up for an audition this is the best. I drove to NYC with a friend who had an audition at the Apollo and the line started around 5am for a noon audition. It was so much fun because everyone was practicing their act for each other. It was like one huge talent show!

  2. Best line up friend I ever made was during a 2 hour wait for a cab outside a casino in Melbourne. He was 50+, and told me all about his life and family while I told him my plan for the next few years. He dished out advice and when it came time to get in our separate cabs we wished each other good luck.

  3. Back in college, our student union would host different events (various celebrity speakers, casts of reality shows, concerts, etc.), but the catch was that some of them would be held in the small auditorium. If it was going to be in the small auditorium, it was a double-edged sword: you knew that the event would be intimate and awesome — you know, like you’d actually be able to see the person with your eyes and not binoculars. However, it also meant that a good portion of the university’s 20,000 students would be vying for one of those precious seats. Half of the seats were first come, first serve and the other half were a lottery system — take a number and hope like crazy yours got drawn.

    After losing at the lottery system once, a friend and I decided we’d skip class and be waiting at the doors when they unlocked the student union for ticket sales. We made lots of new friends, and unsurprisingly, you completely nailed all four steps!

  4. Concert line-ups are my fave! Whether it’s the line to get in, the line for the bathroom, or just the people seated next to me, I love to chat to new friends. Makes a great time even better!

  5. I remember making a lineup friend that I still keep in touch with at an audition for “Seussical”! I had no idea that waiting in line to try and get a part in the show would cause me to make such a great new friend!

  6. I have been given many recipes and cooking tips in grocery store line-ups:)
    I LOVE the enthusiastically charged Amusement park ride “friends”!
    And Santa Clause… well, the easiest and most entertaining…the best!
    But if I was in a line-up to meet Springsteen, I’m pretty sure the only friend I’d make, (if I should be so lucky), would be Bruce!

  7. awesome yet again :)
    already #56? time flies :/
    even though i dont want #1 to come, i wonder what it’ll be…
    Neil, you do realise that it has to be the most AWESOME-est thing ever right? No pressure ;D xxxxx

  8. I’m usually the first one to break the ice in line ups. I’ll even do it in a short line up. One of my pet peeves of living in a big city is how reluctant we seem to be to engage with others in our surroundings. Come on, people! Let’s enjoy and share our humanity.

    1. I’m with jd…”Ice, ice baby”… break it down…”Come on people now, smile on your brother”…”Come together right now”…….OVER NEIL! “Let’s build a congo line and have a party time”, to enjoy and share our humanity…no pressure though, just “Let the good times roll”……:)

  9. I’ve done lots of opening movie lineups, especially in the days before reserved seating. The first few Harry Potter movies I’d head to the theater right after work and wait a few hours, often chatting with others who were like me were holding places for later friends. Back in ’99 a couple of us last minute decided to camp out for Star Wars tickets. When we arrived at our chosen theater around 9pm there were several hundred in line already. Between that and again spending the night for opening day, we had a grand time hanging with fellow fans!

  10. My best lineup experience was when I waited for 4 hours in line for the taping of the concert portion of Gigantic: A Tale of Two Johns (a documentary about the band They Might Be Giants). All the TMBG fans were super awesome and friendly.

  11. I love this. I have “festival friends” which I’ve met in line or met waiting for a band. We’ve never swapped contact details and we don’t even know each other’s names, but it’s guaranteed that we’ll meet at pretty much every festival/concert.

    Actually, I remember once seeing these two dudes when I was waiting for The Temper Trap at Big Day Out, then I saw one of them again the next year at Sunset Sounds waiting for The National and said “Hey I saw you at Temper Trap”. He was really too drunk to even remember – he was also pretty drunk when I said hi lol. BUT THEN the next year my friends and I stayed at the Gold Coast to go to Big Day Out and I had to go to the doctor’s there because I had cut my eye (long story) and as I was waiting in the patient area, you wouldn’t believe who I saw waiting to see the doctor right across from me… HIM AGAIN! I didn’t say hi though because I guessed he would have forgotten again anyway.


    <3 Awesome!

  13. Loving the NKOTB reference! I immediately recognised the lyrics, as I was a huge fan some 20 years ago :)

  14. I am in therapy for depression. My therapist told me about a great book called Awesome. I must say that I have read a few pages and I must say they were all awesome. I could relate to a lot of the stories. They made me laugh and think about all the good times in my life. Thanks for sharing .

  15. Yes, it’s me, commenting here again. Booo :P

    Just went through another line-up friends experience for Australia’s Got Talent. We got there at 3 to get a good seat for when the doors opened at 5.30. We ended up waiting in line for FOUR AND A HALF HOURS! D: During that time I ended up sharing lollies around and laughing at the staff who every now and then would pop by and be like “ANOTHER FIFTEEN MINUTES, ANOTHER TEN MINUTES… HEY GUYS IT’S ANOTHER FIFTEEN MINUTES…”. This ended up being the personal joke/quote for the night. I live an hour away from the auditions so when we got in at 7.30 the show didn’t finish ’til 12 AM and I got home at 1… Hoooh man am I paying for it at work today. Coffee coffee coffee! When it’s two hours left ’til the end of the working day I’ll be thinking “just fifteen more minutes, just ten more minutes”.

    1. The people of Awesome want to know what’s your talent you auditioned for/with? (or however that should be said/written/posed!)

      1. Oooh I didn’t actually audition! We just went to watch the auditions :) If I were to audition though, it would be to sing. Maybe one day, but right now I can’t even think about myself being on stage, let alone pluck up the courage xD

        1. I would’ve pegged you a courageous sort! Mayabe next round!
          Well, to be there must have been loads of fun! I’m in Canada. Canada’s got talent is starting soon but I’ve not any such talent to be there and too far away to see the auditions!
          Lucky to have t.v. though, so will watch the fun when they air:)

          1. Haha, I can sing on stage fine, but the whole judging thing just freaks me out. It was loads of fun apart from the wait! I always love watching auditions – I hardly ever follow shows after the first lot of auditions though.
            There is this one big, beautiful woman who had a big voice and an amazing stage presence. She knew how to work the crowd and she took herself away from being the centre of attention and projected it onto the band – and still managed to groove and look good! She was amazing. Once I remember her name I’ll let you know. I got major chills listening and watching her perform. She was fantastic and the judges couldn’t believe she was working at McDonald’s! I couldn’t either! Hopefully someone will pick her up soon. In fact, I hope she wins.

    I remember this saying from one of my favorite novels, “Never doubt there is a God, when you see the colour purple!”, from the classic, “Colour Purple!”

  17. I once waited 8+ hours for a really good phone deal; a shop opened and they had like the best deal in the history of their company. When I walked to their store I saw like 50 people already waiting – and that was bad news. It turned out to just be the tip of the iceberg; the 50 people were just the horizontal part of an L… an L that’s like 10 times higher than wide :-) The people in line were about as different as possible – all kinds of ages, wages and types.. but fighting the invisible t-mobile titans we managed to really turn into a group. It was pretty warm too, and the store frequently passed out ice-creams and bottles of water to keep people from faiting; thus even giving us more the feeling that this was a struggle for survival – a marathon we were all running together.

    A couple of people had accidentally sneaked in front of each other, and then, when finally after more than a day of waiting it was their turn – they set the order straight again right back to how we all met – and chose to wait 15 more minutes just because it was right, and because we were all line-up buddies by then :-)

    Eventhough I did nothing useful and a phone is just a phone.. I enjoyed that day so much because this huge group of people all shared the same goal, and all passed the finish line together. Line-up friends forever!

  18. I read this awesome post about “Lineup friends”, and then I experienced something even better. “Airplane Friends”. You got to love them!!!!!!During a flight to Paris I was stuck between two men, one of which had travelled to over 178 countries, (eleven of which, were in one week alone) and one of whom only spoke French. Lets just say, the travellor had some interesting stories to tell. And a lot can happen in the course of 8 hours, including mad dashes to the restroom, and new pillow friends.

  19. Reading the NKOTB-reference made my day and is particularly fitting. Since their reunion in 2008, I’ve stood in many a long line, waiting as doors opened late or it started to pour and even in the “Blizzard of 2009” in Boston, with other 20- and 30-something women who had reverted back to childhood just like me. Some of my best friends today are those line friends I made, and we all still stand together in line.


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