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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

I Walk the Line

I should say that as a woman without children, I am fascinated by the PARENTHOOD and what it indeed does to a brain. Make no mistake, I love parents. I have a set of my own. Some of my best friends are parents.

But parents do some pretty weird shit in the name of their offspring. What is it about raising a little person that turns a completely rationale person into a bit of a lunatic?

Is it the sleep deprivation? The worry? The guilt? Over the years I have watched perfectly rationale, normal sisters lose their shit to the PARENTHOOD. There they are…. Lovely, strong-minded perfectly kick ass girlfriends who given time will need therapy because they could not rent a bouncy castle in time for their little cherub’s birthday.

In my observation the PARENTHOOD plays havoc on many things in one’s life; but mostly- it’s screws with one’s sense of time. PARENTHOOD is am emotional time warp. I hear it all the time from my breeding friends…

“Where did the time go?”
“There’s just not enough hours in the day?”
“What time is swimming? Hockey? Dance class?”
“I don’t have time for coffee today, I have to plan a princess party”

Time is indeed precious. As a woman without children, I value it as much as the next sister. But I have noticed that when it comes to my “friends with dependents” time is a nasty bitch.

There is never enough time and yet, the PARENTHOOD makes you wait around a lot….

There they are flocks of parents standing on line…. For everything.

People without kids don’t stand on line.

We don’t have a little person with expectations waiting to be disappointed at home- we can come back for whatever we need or just plain go without.

Sure there are those twenty somethings who wait on line for the next I-Phone or the next pair of expensive sneakers. But as a rule- if you see a line up running right around the block somewhere- chances are (unless it’s for concert tickets) it is NOT made up of thirty somethings without kids. Most certainly, said line is indeed composed of geeks, hipsters and parents.

Sure, geeks and hipsters are parents too- let’s not get boggled in semantics- this is a fun blog- not a life-changer.

Allow me to elaborate….

Last weekend I spent some quality girlfriend time in NYC with a fabulous woman (you know who you are). My girlfriend, we will call her “Sara” has two cherubs at home both of whom are fans of the latest Disney movie “Frozen”.

I have not seen this movie. I am waiting to make it through all other movies on Air Canada’s video on demand before resorting to the Disney section. I am told, however that Frozen is about a girl with special powers who freezes things- including (by accident of course) her sister’s brain. Yah, Disney’s version of sibling rivalry rains true.

Anyway- never mind the gripping movie plot…. The point here is that Disney makes dolls and merchandise to advertise their movies (shocking, no?) and they sell them at Disney stores.

“Sara” and I decided that we would swing by the Disney store in Times Square on our way to the “good shops” in order to purchase two “Olaf dolls” for her daughters. Incidentally, Olaf is a snowman in this movie… the mind reels.

So sure enough, dressed in our Saturday best, we hoofed it twenty blocks in pursuit of said stuffed snowman. Two blocks from the store “Sara” let out a small sigh.

“What’s up?” I asked
“Look at the line… we’re not waiting in that.”

Sure enough snaked around the Disney store and half way down the next block was a line of parents and children. There they stood with hope and capitalism in their dead eyes…. Standing on line in the greatest city in the world on a Saturday morning all for the promise of an Olaf doll. The world was their oyster… the city was before them and they would spend easily 8 hours drinking Starbucks and passing time just so Timmy could have a Disney toy that one day would sit neglected in the garage somewhere.

“No,” I said, very unconvincing, “we can wait”…. I’m a good friend, you see?
“Nope. Let’s go to Bergdorf’s”. She announced.

Now do you see why I love “Sara” so much? Bitch has priorities.

And then I had a thought. I walked up to the lady who was at the front of the line…

“Hi. What’s you name?”
“Hi Jen. Can I ask you a favour?”
“Are you buying an Olaf doll today?”
“Great. Can I give you money and you go inside and buy me two Olaf dolls while I wait out here?”

And like any good friend, I threw money at the problem. I handed Jen $100 and moved to the side of the line. How much is an Olaf doll you ask? I have no freaking clue. How much is my time? Priceless.

Sure enough Jen came through and 10 minutes later she emerged with change, a receipt and two fuzzy snowmen. Jen it turns out is from the Midwest… she is honest as Mom and apple pie and a true sister. Indeed in the spirit of it all, I insisted that Jen keep the change and buy herself lunch. She had saved the day and indeed she should be compensated.

The whole experience got me thinking about the time we waste in lines of every shape and size.

I should say that I hate standing on line. I’m the youngest child… perhaps that’s a thing. I’m used to people waiting for me and not the other way around? Sounds shitty? It is. But I’m honest.

In my experience, parents wait on line more than most.

Tales of parents sleeping overnight in line to get their kids into preschool, hockey, and swimming are commonplace.

Make no mistake…. That line around the Disney store was indeed a symbol for the great divide between the PARENTHOOD and the rest of the world….

The average American spends an hour of their day waiting in lines. This totals 2-3 years of their lives. According to research we overestimate the amount of time that we indeed wait on line by as much as 35%.

According to an article in the NY times unoccupied waiting is the worst. When indeed we have “something to do” while we wait, human being are better.

An example cited is the baggage wait at Houston Airport. Years ago, airport architects moved the baggage carousel at Houston a full 10 minute walk away from the gates. People had to walk to get their bags, which took some time to arrive, and sure enough complaint about baggage wait times dropped….

Why do you think there are mirrors around elevators? This principle dates back to post WWII when high rises were indeed on the rise and elevators were not the fastest… stick a mirror by an elevator and someone can check their face while they wait.
Studies show that being distracted while waiting in line makes the line so much more tolerable. Perhaps those on line at Disney were in a better mood because of the “action” in Times Square. Perhaps Disney should hire personal trainers dressed up as princesses to hold boot camp classes for those waiting on line? There’s a thought.

Indeed there are norms around waiting in line. I’m sure I broke a few of them handing my money to Jen. Yes, I was an asshole “cutting the cue” but no one seemed to object.

Do I feel badly that I jumped a cue and put my needs before hundreds of others on that sunny Saturday in NYC in the name of a Disney snowman?

Seriously my sisters… there was Bergdorf’s to be had. I am sorry to all those in line who felt that I put my needs before theirs. If it is any consolation- I worked my guilt out at tone hell of a shoe department 10 blocks uptown.


  1. Seriously?! All I could think about was "why haven't I thought of that before?"! Getting someone else in line to pick up that Frozen purchase - Genius! I was in NYC too this past weekend and only made it FAO Schwarz and just talked myself out of going into Disney. You're a good girlfriend and your friend is lucky to have you.

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