Alright Class, Form a Line...

If your elementary school was anything like mine, you probably spent a third of your day in line. There were lines to get into the building from the bus, lines to use the bathroom, lines to go to the gym, lines to leave the gym, lines to go to lunch, lines to go to recess, lines to come in from recess, lines to go wait for the bus...etc. They crisscrossed the school, went up and down stairs, stretched the length of the brick walls and carpets with no end in sight... unless you were the end (in which case, your day sucked). "Hey you in front of me, no farting!"

At least 10 minutes of every hour was spent lining up at the end of every major class before being shuffled on to the next. What were they teaching us? How to use a DMV branch? How to get a deal on black Friday? And if you cut, it was just as painful as either of those scenarios. If you so much as cut one space ahead, you were going to bare the sting of poison arrows of death, and they'd be coming at you in the words, "Hey! No Cutting! Teacher! He cut! No Cutting!!" If you cut, sometimes you had to go to the back of the line, to hang out with the other losers. Other times, you'd be sent to death row and executed (...a lineup there too).

During all that useless tedium in the lines, we usually tried to find ways to entertain ourselves. One game I remember was the staring contest. You look the kid in front of you in the eyes, and they look back, and the first one to crack up loses. Now I can't stress enough how much I sucked at this game. A tomboyish girl and I once engaged in a staring contest while in line, and she was going cross-eyed, sticking out her tongue, pulling her lips open.. and I was busting! She wasn't cracking up, per se... just visibly in hysterics behind buttoned lips. As far as I know, that's cheating, but then again, I didn't know too far.

Less of a game and more of an annoyance was the classic flat tire. This was usually only doable if the line was in motion. You simply step on the back of the kid's shoe in front of you as they are walking, causing it to come off their heel, and thus causing temporary hilarity. This worked best with girls who usually wore less rugged shoes, but man did they go off every time I tried it! Let me take this opportunity to apologize to any girl out there whose expensive shoes may have had a buckle snap thanks to my ingenious attempts at momentary comic relief...

Probably the grossest game you could play in line was the spit swap, where you spit in your hand and then shake the hand of the person behind you. Depending on how coordinated the line was, this might set off a chain reaction whereby the shaker becomes the spitter for the kid behind him...etc. It's kind of like the grade school version of passing around STDs, and I don't think I could recommend doing it, although it probably accounted for some of the chronic strep throat that gained me many a day off from school in my time.

The funnest game though was without a doubt the domino effect. This should be self explanatory. One kid (usually at the back of the line) pushes another, and that kid knocks into another kid, and before you know it, the whole line is going down... and by the time it gets to front, bodies are hitting the floor! It could be revenge on the kids in the front of the line, or just random idiocy, but when it happened, it was the highlight of any day for sure. The teachers may have cancelled our recess once or twice over it, but it was worth it.

At the end of the day, I remember the minutes ticking down as we all stood in line, waiting for the buses to show up, minute after minute, inching further and further up... I remember standing there with all these fantasies snowballing in my head about laying down and falling asleep right there, and what would probably happen. If I did, nobody would be allowed to "cut" me, so they'd all have to wait for me to move. Then they'd all miss their bus and they'd have to all cram into the office and place about 30 different calls to come get picked up. Damn the bureaucracy!

1 comment:

  1. Gosh.. I remember this happening all day long in Elementary school!! So annoying! >.<

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