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What We’d Be Willing to Wait In Line For

Today, we wait. For televisions. For thermal tops. For glassware. For boots. For Fitbits. For Keurigs (to make coffee with or to destroy). For laptops. For vacuums. For small kitchen appliances. For PlayStations. For Alexa. For pants. And all for never-before-seen, door-busting, bargain-basement prices. Well, everyone else will wait. As you’ll read below, it seems as though our staff doesn’t wait for much of anything unless it involves stuffing their faces.

Sam Dworkin, Assistant Art Director: I’ve never been a huge fan of lines. You won’t find me at Disneyland and you definitely won’t find me brawling for a TV on Black Friday. The one line I do find myself waiting in, however, is the line that leads to free food. I very much look forward to the free meals supplied by our company and the leftover slop the accounting team couldn’t guzzle down at their friday meeting. And so, for me, our office is the Silicon Beach equivilant of the Great Depression soup kitchen. Gotta run, they’re serving a Thanksgiving lunch as I type this!

Nick Leftley, Senior Editor: Unless I suddenly find myself transported to Soviet-era Russia with a pocket full of rubles and a hungry family of 12, I will not stand in line for anything. I think New York killed it for me: When I lived there, people would line up for any shiny new thing, no matter how pointless. Every day, there was a three-hour line for cronuts. Cronuts! A novelty donut made of croissant dough is not worth waiting three hours for. Frankly, even if the creator of the universe came down to answer all our questions individually, but there was more than a five-minute wait, I’d pass.

Okay, I guess I’ll wait in line for a rollercoaster. BUT IT BETTER BE SO FUN I SHIT MYSELF.

Ian Lecklitner, Assistant Editor: It depends on the length of the line. But these days, food — really dank food — is the only thing I’m willing to wait in line for. Otherwise, I’m of the opinion that my time (and money) could be better spent on something that doesn’t require I wait awkwardly in a chaotic line with total strangers.

C. Brian Smith, Staff Writer: I recently spent more than an hour in the TSA line at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta. It was like trying to board Space Mountain circa 1989. I wouldn’t say I was “willing” to wait in the line — more like compelled — and expressing frustration indicates that one is soft on terror. So yeah, I’ll wait. And wait… And wait… And wait…

Tim Grierson, Contributing Editor: One of the best parts of my job is going to film festivals, but that requires a lot of standing in lines. I have stood out in the snow waiting to get into a movie at Sundance. I’ve clutched an umbrella while rain pounded down as I waited to get into a movie at Cannes. I’ve stood in lines in Toronto and Beirut and Los Angeles and Columbia, Missouri. Name a festival, I’ve waited in a line there.

All that waiting might sound tedious to other people, but I’ve never really minded. It reminds me of being younger and waiting in lines for an hour or so to see the latest big blockbuster. The waiting meant anticipation and excitement, and being with a bunch of people only made it seem more like an event that we were all taking part in together.

When I stand in line at a festival, I know that what’s waiting for me beyond those doors is a movie that no one else in the world has seen yet — a movie that I’m lucky enough to get to experience before a lot of other people do. That’s why waiting in line never annoys me. It’s a reminder that what I do is really special. I never want to take that for granted.

Andrew Fiouzi, Assistant Editor: I hate waiting in lines. Nothing makes me feel more like part of an ant farm than queuing. Having said that, I’ll definitely wait in line for chocolate chip cookies or sweets of any kind. I LOVE CHOCOLATE.

Tracy Moore, Staff Writer: I would argue that outside of very niche hobbies, you’ve paid most of your line-standing dues by the time you’re 40. That is to say, you’ve camped out for concert tickets, waited in line for those concerts to start, waited for a sample sale to open up to the stampeding masses, killed a few hours hoping to get a book signed by a famous author. I mostly can’t do it anymore on account of having put in the time, and because now I only find certain novel experiences unique enough to wait around for.

The only instance where I relent is when it involves my kid.

For example, a few years ago, a pop-up art exhibit featuring a series of dayglo immersive enclosed rooms and tunnels came to downtown L.A. The line didn’t look like it would be six hours long, but six hours later, we were still standing in it — waiting for our turn to spend exactly 10 minutes inside. This is exactly the sort of brain-melting experience I wouldn’t wait an hour for, much less six. But you lean in, and the payoff is seeing your kid delight in the weird wonder of it all. And somehow, when you allow yourself to just get really Zen about it, you realize a lifetime of line-waiting has served you well, and there’s nothing but long lines for brief novel experiences to keep testing it.

Josh Schollmeyer, Editor in Chief: This right here is what spins me out. Because I’ll wait for nothing, I worry that I’ve missed something. Stuff like what Tracy is talking about. Not just cool, weird pop-up art exhibits, but killer moments with people (kids, partners, friends, family) that I will one day do anything to have another six hours with.

Off the top of my head, here are a few of the things I know I’ve missed because I refuse to wait in line: A car wash last week. A full tank of gas shortly thereafter. A signed photo of Andre Dawson at the Cubs Convention (circa 2004). Numerous drinks at numerous college bars. Numerous drinks at numerous Chicago bars. Brunch. The omelette station at brunch. Many impulse buys. Any launch event of anything cool. Urinating. And most regrettably, voting for Hillary Clinton with my four-year-old daughter by my side.

I had good intentions on that last count. We left the house about 15 minutes before early voting started at our nearest polling place — roughly a 15-minute drive, meaning we’d get there right as it opened (and seemingly before everyone else). But alas, that was one motherfucking long line. Long enough, in fact, that local TV crews were there to cover it. If memory serves, it was gonna take roughly eight hours to punch the ballot. And when you have a toddler — and no food or toys to keep them occupied — even waiting eight minutes can be an epic test of patience and grace that usually only results in a joint meltdown (me and her).

So history be damned.

We went to go get groceries instead. It was early, and the checkout line was nonexistent.