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The Culture of the Queue

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As we grow older and wiser, the world becomes more complicated. The era of simplicity has given way for the movement of complexity. Life in the 2010’s is by far more expensive and stressful than that of our parents. By the age of 25, we have at least $30,000 in HECS debts; an IPhone, a car loan, rent, insurance for everything including medical, union fees, gym and the rest.

But with the latest generation of children hitting the shops, we are getting more and more accustomed to buying items right on the spot. No Laybys! In fact what are Laybys? We see, we get.

As a 20 something my life is full of ultimate experiences. Whatever and whenever I want to do something I am able. Is this because I am employed to or is this because the 21st century is the era of exploration?

What puzzles me the most is the contrast between the new world and the old. It has inspired me to look at the ‘culture of the queue’. By culture of the queue, I am referring to the world in which we wait.

For centuries people have used queues to establish and fair way of receiving services. Currently we queue for everything, supermarkets, coffee, banks, etc, the line is endless.

What is it about the concept of the queuing culture that sparks my interest? I guess it’s the fact that we assume these lines without thought. It is indeed a learned behavior. Something so deeply routed that we assemble ourselves without a seconds thought.

Infamous queues of the 20th century include; the food queues of the Great Depression, the trenches of both World Wars, Hitler’s concentration camps, the Space Race (if seen as a queue), the Civil Rights Movement (the push for black Americans to make it to the front of the bus), so on and so forth. So take a number to some of the most inhumane events of the past..

If we look into the ethos of the animal kingdom, a queue does not entirely exist. It is without purpose. The queuing system is based upon dominance or age. Heaven forbid the little club walk up the the dominant lion for a nibble on the prize.

So why are humans so content with a queue? It is the polite thing to do. To wait your turn. To wait in line. To wait.

Which brings me to my next point. Waiting. It is singlehandedly the worse part of life. As Samuel Beckett’s infamous play sees the characters Vladimir and Estragon embark on a journey of waiting. In their dialogue they both establish that they are indeed “Waiting for Godot!” And does Godot appear? Well that is the irony of the play, he never appears. It’s ever abundant connection with Christianity can be seen through the text.

So are we waiting to die?

Life is about waiting. Tricky marketing campaigns like Apple build on the wait so much so that people end up waiting six months for a product and then eight hours on the door to get it.

How does this factor into Gen Y, when they have had everything at their finger tips? Gen ‘now’ as more appropriately termed, suffer from the ‘I want, I get’ syndrome, which is only facilitated by the growth of ‘industrial credit cardism’. Which brings me back to my first point, 20 something’s are burdened with debt as soon as they leave the nest.

It is apparent that we live in a world between waiting for something. We are always waiting. We wait in anticipation of waiting. But what has changed is the chance to change the time we wait.



Author: Em Mango

Blogger, PA, Nerd, Social Media Addict, Friend, Lover, Snuggler, Traveller

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