Last night, we got a little wintery mix, which ruined traffic in Baltimore this morning. But that’s not important. Traffic in Baltimore is a normal occurrence. If you get on or near the beltway, you’re going to hit some traffic – it’s been this way since I could drive, and by all accounts, long before too. So, you think I’d be used to it.

Well I’m not.

My wife observed once, that when I approach a red light where there’s a driver ahead of me in my lane, but the next lane over is empty, I will ALWAYS change lanes. It doesn’t matter if I have to be in my original lane to make a turn, or if it ends on the other side of the light, I always shift over. She said “You really don’t like being in line, do you?”

It’s true, I hate waiting in line. If I’m in a queue longer than one other person in the grocery store, I seethe until it’s my turn. Then, I’m surly towards the cashier. If there’s someone ahead of me repacking their briefcase at the x-ray at work, I’ll go around them. The DMV makes me crazy, because no one ever seems bothered by the fact that there’s a lot of people doing NOTHING but WAITING.

So, why is it that queuing enrages me so? I don’t think that I’m more important than everyone else, that I should for some reason receive preferential treatment. I don’t want to cut to the head of the line, I want the line not to exist.

I see a queue is a result of a system not performing optimally. Either it’s too many drivers on the road at one time, or someone’s had a crash and everyone else is rubbernecking. Or, not enough cash registers open. Or lazy state employees.  Somewhere, somehow, someone hasn’t done what they are supposed to, and now there’s a queue, and that’s a problem. The system is broken. I’m compelled to fix problems, and I can’t, and I think that’s the source of my frustration.


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