5 Things to Do to Pass the Time While in Line

Patience is the one virtue that is not improved with exercise. We hate to wait for anything, but unless you wake one morning to find yourself in some Night of the Comet post-apocalyptic era where you have free rein of the Mall (like, TOTALLY), you are probably going to spend far longer than you like standing in a line. But there’s no need to curse the disorganized lady in front of you that needs to pay for her groceries with two credit cards and a check. You can still use CAPTIVE time wisely and here’s how:

1. Use your imagination

No one likes to be bored, so don’t be. What if everyone in the line in front of you was suddenly translated and you were Left Behind? Or they all turned into mutant vampire squirrels in riot gear? Or the items in their carts suddenly sprouted arms and legs and did the Macarena on the conveyer belt? Picturing five or ten, if you’re particularly imaginative, scenarios should keep you busy for at least ten minutes of that long wait—and entertain you besides.

2. Make a Friend

The guy in front of you is most probably a stranger. He doesn’t have to stay one. While most people have an innate sense of wariness in the company of strangers (remember mom told you not to talk to them), there’s no reason why you can’t strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know. He is probably just as bored as you are. Safe subjects like weather and the long wait are always great conversation openers. If you can’t bring yourself to do that, then eavesdropping on someone else’s conversation is always bound to be amusing.

3. Brush Up on Your French

There are so few truly idle hours in life that finding an unscripted one can be counted a blessing. When’s the last time you said your multiplication table? Conjugated a French verb? Recited your favorite part of a Shakespearian play? This is the perfect opportunity to brush up skills that are in grave danger of perishing from lack of use. Take advantage of it.

4. Make Full Use of the Speed Table

Merchants know you are going to spend some (maybe a lot of) time in the checkout line. In the hope that if you stare long enough at a tube of lip gloss or a Mars bar that you will decide you want it, they have stocked the shelves around their registers chock full of all sorts of miscellaneous goodies. None that are the least bit of use to anyone really, but don’t let that discourage you. Think of it as a visit to the Museum of Limited Utility. No charge for admission. Check out what the table has to offer. If there are magazines there, pick one up and read it. The NO READING rule doesn’t apply when you’re in line. Trust me!

5. Ask Yourself, Do You Really Need a Widget That Bad!

Since a lot of our buying is impulsive, a long wait in line is often a good deterrent to purchasing what you don’t need. So ask yourself, is it really worth the wait! If it isn’t, put your widget back and head for the door. You’ve got better things to do with your time.

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