(a new series, with apologies to Christian Lander)
1. Queuing up
Some people will lead you to believe that football (that's soccer for all the Yanks out there) is Britain's favorite sport. Others will say rugby. The very bravest will try to persuade you of the thrills of cricket. But in truth, Britain's favorite past-time is something seemingly very simple yet fraught with strategy and complex rules of etiquette: queuing up.
|Lovely day for a spot of queuing!|
I was in line at at a cash point (translation: ATM) recently. There was just one person ahead of me, and he was nearly done with his transaction. I was pulling out my wallet when a young man strolled right up and planted himself in front of me. I wasn't in a rush so I wasn't really bothered, but I wondered whether I should just make him aware of my existence to satisfy my sense of justice. As I stood there trying to make up my mind, my Awkward Radar picked up on several squirms of discomfort emanating from the woman behind me. The source of her agony was evident: The young man had clearly violated the principle of the queue - but she was too polite to inconvenience him terribly by asking him to move to the back. Oh dear! I decided to put her out of her very English misery. I "ahem"ed and said, "Pardon me--" He turned around and looked quite embarrassed. "Oh! I'm so sorry, I didn't realize!" he said. The woman behind me looked immensely relieved and said, "Yes, I'm so sorry, it's just that there's a queue..." (Another very British thing, by the way: Apologizing for something that's not your fault. Maybe that's where I get it from, Dad!)
Always respect the queue. For the love of all that is good, respect the queue.