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The waiting game is never fun to play

POSTED: July 3, 2010 10:00 p.m.

Waiting in line has never been one of my strengths.

I think it started in kindergarten when we had to line up to go to lunch. I’m pretty sure that they had a check box for “Doesn’t do well in line” on my kindergarten report card.

I remember waiting in line for what was then called the “freak” show at the fair. They had a big trailer with all sorts of oddities, such as the bearded woman and the world’s smallest man. Unlike waiting in the lunch line in kindergarten, there was nothing but disappointment.

The first time I went to Disney World, a two-hour wait greeted those who wanted to ride Space Mountain, which was the hottest ride at the time. It was a long two hours, but seemed worth the wait.

I have a propensity to pick the worst possible checkout line at retail stores. I came extremely close to jumping across the conveyor belt at a store after being told by a cashier that she was going on her break, after I had waited through 10 transactions.

I have written stories about people who camp out on Thanksgiving night to get the “doorbuster” special of the big Black Friday sales. There is nothing that I need that requires me to sleep on a sidewalk in a sleeping bag.

All of this leads up to the reason for this column. I continue to be amazed at the number of people who will wait through incredible lines to get the latest electronic gizmo. This week, it happens to be the new Apple iPhone 4.

I have avoided models one through three and will, in all likelihood, not be getting No. 4.

Several friends of mine have iPhones and they are dandy little things. A woman I work with carries both an iPhone and a Blackberry (another popular digital device). She fawns over the iPhone and doesn’t particularly care for the other.

But folks are devoted to their iPhones and seem content to wait for them. There were 5,000 people waiting in line at Lenox Square on the morning model four was first available.

There are eight counties in Georgia that don’t have a population of 5,000 people. To get 5,000 people you would have to gather up every man, woman and child living in Talliaferro (which is pronounced Tolliver) and Webster counties and get 350 more from somewhere else to get 5,000 people. That’s a lot of folks.

If you went down to the big mall and stood in a line of 5,000 people to get a new iPhone, good for you. I hope you can make more calls and do more things than ever before.

When I thought about it, about the only things for which I would wait in a line of 5,000 would be the second coming of Jesus and to get the surefire vaccine to prevent cancer. I was hoping, however, that Jesus would just swoop me up without waiting.

If the Lord comes back to a venue, I hope it is one where they wouldn’t steal your car in the parking lot. I’d like to ride home in air conditioning if they turn me away.

Harris Blackwood is a columnist for The Times. His column appears every week in Sunday Life.


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