This is the first of a several posts I hope to publish on Waiting In Line. I have had much experience in this area over the years, and I am still looking for better ways to learn and grow while waiting in line.
Part I – The Early Years
I admit it, I hate to wait in line. Even as a young kid, I associated waiting in line with fear of the unknown. I did not like waiting in line to see Santa when I was seven years old. I had successfully avoided personal contacts with him before – why did I need to talk to him now, face to face in Lowenstein’s Department Store, with my mother lurking in the background? I was worried that he knew about the stink bomb I had made in Andy’s back yard. And the dart I threw at my brother that stuck in his rear. And the cats that had parachuted from the roof of our house. I waited and rehearsed my lines. I wondered – was anyone else in on this caper? Was my run of great Christmas Day experiences about to end?
When I was 10 years old, Dr. Campbell, DDS, found a record number of cavities in my mouth. So many that my parents had to take out a second mortgage. I spent many hours in his office that summer watching the lava lamp and listening to cheesy Tijuana Brass numbers on the radio. All of the appointments were scheduled in the afternoons when I would have been playing baseball. I can still smell the Lava Soap in the rest room and hear the high whine of the drill. I always thought the left over pieces of Lava made their way into Dr. Campbell’s tooth cleaning powder.
In 1969, I stood in line with 50 or so teenage males to register for the draft. I thought it odd that we were completely naked and everyone was coughing as the military doctors walked the line. I silently practiced a low, manly, throaty cough. And when the Chief Doctor stood before me, and I was told to turn my head to the right and cough, I let out a violent thunderous roar that could have awakened Mothra and Godzilla from their deep monster sleep. I don’t know who was more surprised – me, or the Chief Doctor. Regardless, I was spared from the “big squeeze”.