I'm going to sound like a grumpy old woman now, which indeed I am! When I was growing up, I was taught to 'wait my turn' and never push in front of anybody else when queuing for anything, be it bus or shop till. I'm trying to remember when the queue system started to break down. I think it was in the '80s. It started with schoolchildren who, when the bus came, surged forward in an unbreakable mass, like one large animal, and poured onto the bus, trampling and shoving any poor adult who got in their way, even if said adult was in the queue first. In vain did the bus driver shout, "One at a time, wait your turn!" Their voice could not be heard over the shrieking hubbub that sounded as if feeding time had occurred simultaneously at both monkey house and parrot enclosure.
Now, in Uxbridge where I unfortunately live, everyone is at it. A few oldsters with good old values like me still do our best to take our place and wait our rightful turn, but in vain. With a university and several schools nearby, mobs of ten foot teenagers, some with suspicious smelling cigarettes in their hands, lurk behind the bus shelter and race to be first on the bus as if trying for Olympic gold. Belligerent looking foreign ladies in huge coats, carrying enormous bags with gold lavatory chain handles, march straight to the front of the queue, set their chins, square their shoulders and block the passage of those who were there long before them.
So today I decided, 'If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.' Ignoring those who were seated on the narrow bench, I arranged myself artfully with my bags between my feet (I'd bought two op art cat-patterned cushions from the Past Times sale and a pair of cheapo BHS jeans) and leaned against the inside of the shelter, nearest the stop sign. Large foreign lady in fur coat appeared and stood right in front of me. Scrawny little Chinese grandma scuttled into position on my left. The bus came. I was blocked in. 'Right,' thought I, 'I'm not having this', and my new assertive self barged between the pair of them and got on the bus first. And had my choice of seats. And wondered where everyone else had got to. And then, just, as my stop-at-every-stop bus started up, I looked round and saw everyone else climbing onto the express bus behind it. That could have got me home in ten minutes in just three stops. My mental language was extremely blue.
But it's perfectly true. As my title says, there is no queue any more. The queue is dead. Long live the scrum.
3 days ago