On the Protocols of Queues

I was in the queue at the lunch buffet when the waitress pointed us to the plates placed most inconveniently in the middle. As everyone moved there, the curly-haired American lady A behind me shoved past casually breaking the queue. She was followed closely by her friend who had been behind her, a fat German woman L with a perpetually smug smile plastered on her face who aggressively cut ahead of me to grab a plate, in a reptilian reflex action. I debated quietly whether to point out that they were breaking the queue, and then considered stepping ahead myself saying with a smile that I had been waiting in the queue. Even though it made the difference of a fraction of a second, the incivility was irking and out of place in the setting. However, to react to people who act on their reptilian instincts would be to lower oneself to their level. Besides each time a person acts from the reptilian instinct, it takes away part of their creativity. Indeed, it is not surprising that both of these rude women are mediocre writers in terms of both style and substance. I finally did what the very English head Professor with immaculate manners would have done – ignored them. And then it struck me that I had never ever seen an English person break a queue. Orderly queues are one of the things that I admire about the English.

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