Welcome to our regular Saturday feature “What Aggravates Me”

by Comedian John Knight

Lines, lines, everywhere lines…yeah, I know that’s not how that old song goes. I’m just trying to emphasize how I always pick the wrong line, not in the sense of going to the wrong place or trying to board the wrong airplane. I just have a knack for picking the line that isn’t moving or has some kind of problem.

When I’m stuck in traffic, with a choice between two lanes, I will be in the one that’s not moving at all. Then if I slide over to the lane that’s moving, as if on cue it comes to a complete stop. Then the lane I was in starts moving along. I mean it’s hard not to get a complex.

I was leaving a cruise ship last week in Miami. I was in the line to go through customs. The couple in front of me had been at my shows and struck up a conversation with me. We were moving along well enough when the female customs agent informed us,

“OK, form two lines.”

So now it was decision time. The woman from the couple said,

“Whatever line we pick will be the one that doesn’t move.”

“Yeah, I’m the same way.”

No sense in us screwing up two lines, so I stayed behind them. Of course it was the problem line. The other line was all U.S. citizens being waved through by a smiling agent. My line was full of suspected terrorist. Each one had to be interrogated, water-boarded and arrested before the line could move again.

It isn’t just the couple in front of me. Anybody I’ve ever talked to about it says they pick the line that never moves. That can’t be right. Somebody is in the line that moves forward and the lane on the highway that isn’t stopped.

Who are these people and why don’t they come forward. You know who you are. What are you afraid of? Yes, the rest of us hate you but you already know that. Come forward and bask in our contempt.

The other day I was in the express, self-checkout lane at my local Giant Eagle. I know this is the third or fourth time I’ve had a problem with this. Yes, I know I could avoid that line but I write a column titled “What Aggravates Me!” I need the material.

The woman was getting her receipt and the guy behind her only had two items. I got behind him, because it shouldn’t take long. The machine announced,

“Scan your advantage card to start the transaction.”

“I don’t have an advantage card, what am I supposed to do?”

“You could go apply for one and then I would be able to pay for my items and leave the store.”

“Nah, I don’t have time for that.”

“Well, you could just stand there like an idiot because the rules don’t apply to you.”

Ok, I didn’t say that part out loud, but that’s what he chose to do.

I don’t know what he was thinking. Like if he stood there long enough the machine would say,

“Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t know it was you. You’re special. Go ahead and start your transaction.”

I offered to scan my card.

“Nah, that’s OK.”

“Yeah, we wouldn’t want to do that. We might both get home before we’re eligible for social security.”

Again, not out loud…Ok, maybe that one was. With no hope of somebody coming along and performing a brain transplant on the guy, I moved over to the next lane. Of course, as soon as I moved over a female employee came over and scanned a card.

“You can’t use this line without an advantage card.”

She didn’t realize he was special. I watched him complete his purchase and the person that was originally behind me moved forward to begin. Back in the line I moved to, the girl ahead of me was arguing with an employee about why she should be able to use her expired coupon. Should get home in time to get my first social security check.

 

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