Let's get on with it....
In 10th grade, all my bestest friends lined up two days in advance to get front row tickets for an Ani DiFranco concert ...
[See that? That's what I call a "good lede." Because I bet everyone who's reading this, especially the dwindling 20% audience share identifying as "male," is like "Oooo! Ani! LOVE HER."]
... but I didn't, because I didn't like her then [now I love her, LOVE HER], and when Drew'd crank up "Living in Clip" on his barely-breathing Volvo's tape deck, I'd groan and hold my hands to my glittered face [that's literal, the glitter], so clearly, I wasn't planning to attend her annoying concert, let alone wait in line for front row seats like they did. Also, Mom woulda never let me camp out all night with a bunch of hippie pot-smoking heteroflexible ambisexual teenage Ani DiFranco fans.
But it seems many humans enjoy nothing more than a good line, and, in fact, will willingly go out of their way to receive particular things ASAP (e.g., the new Harry Potter), to purchase The Best of said things (e.g., front row seats), hoping for a chance to win/earn something (e.g., a spot on a Reality TV show) or to get something rare/hard to find (e.g., Nintendo Wii) or for something ridiculously free or under-priced (e.g., 'Free Scoop Day' at Ben and Jerry's). The lines we're willing to endure reveal our true selves (not really, but I feel like making absurd grandiose generalizations today): Lord of the Rings? Beanie Babies? American Idol auditions? Madonna tickets? The privilege of paying $100 to trap oneself in to a small dingy cage and then get dropped from a great terrifying height?
A cell phone? With AT & T? The media gets really excited when people wait in line for things.
i-chat transcript, 6.25.07. On the "iPhone."Me: People are gonna line up, they say.
Carly: Oh yes. I mean, they lined up for like, OS X 10.4, so can you imagine the chaos for the fucking phone?
Me: It's like the opposite of the bread lines in Russia and Lord of the Rings.
Carly: Which is why I'm waiting until like, Hanukkah, to get mine.
Me: I bet that's the first time you've been happy about having Cingular. Actually....I had that, they fucked me. Then I got Sprint, who also fucked me, and now I have T-Mobile, and they are also fucking me. It's like, really brutal.
Carly: I hate Sprint with the fiery passion of a thousand suns. I'm fine with at&t/cingular/at&t/whatever. I would hate to be brutally fucked by a phone.
Me: I know it'd be very phone-y and wide and awkward. Unless it was like an old school Nokia.
Carly: I am Loling.
Me: From like, '99.
Carly: Those wouldn't be as bad.
Me: Yeah, but like, a Sidekick? Ew.
Carly: Or a Blackberry? Jesus.
Me: It would be like being entered by an actual UFO, but a violent one like from Star Trek, or whatever.
Carly: Oh my God, Lol-ing for real.
Me: A RAZR would be bad, because it looks like it would have sharp sharp edges. You know? Like a razor.
Carly: Oh, I got that.
Me: RAZR=razor. Get it?
Carly: hahahahahha. I do.
Me: By "RAZOR" I mean... razor.
When I ventured to the apple store on Wednesday to retrieve a new keyboard and power cord for my sad little MacBookinstien, I noticed there were a lot of whackos outside on their lawn chairs. Probs their phones got stolen like mine did. However, I didn't wait in line for my DASH. Instead, I spent three days pondering the various dimensions of my misery and how glad I was no one could reach me, lest they be subjected to my whining. Then, ten days later, I decided that my boots were made for walkin', and that's just what I did, I walked on over to T-Mobile. What was I waiting for, those long psychologically challenging days in my bubble with my air conditioner and my broken t-key? I don't know. Probs Godot or An Answer.
I hate lines. [Really? Really Riese? You are such a unique and special snowflake.] That's why I hate Rite Aid, the gym after 5pm, popular restaurants, the apple store, H+M, the airport, Starbucks, Whole Foods, the doctor's office, amusement parks and Pathmark. I'd rather be hungry, thirsty and wearing last season's fashions than wait in line. JK. I just bring a book. And think to myself: "Why's everyone so stupid and I'm so smart? Why're none of these employees working at maximum efficiency? I could start my own restaurant, harvest my own potatoes, build a fryer, hire employees, peel and chop or whatever the potatoes and then train someone to fry them before I get to the front of this line at the alleged Express McDonald's." If it's running really poorly, I can't concentrate on my book, I can only seethe.
I never try things on because I can't wait in line for a dressing room. This's a problem.
The Community High School Line : When Community High School was founded in 1972, it had only two rules: "1. No smoking, except in the teacher-student lounge, 2. Wear shoes." It remains one of the few public "magnet"/"alternative" schools to endure from the left-wing-powered wave of hippie alternative schools that were popping around America back then. By 1989, applicants far outnumbered spots, and, following the first-come first-served policy, ambitious parents started lining up up to two weeks ahead of time to get in. In '95, my year, they attempted to solve this problem by not announcing the location of the line 'til three days before the application due date. The first 50 kids get in. The remaining 50 spots; selected via lottery. The waiting list was actually a very promising prospect, too, because a lot of CHS students'd become drug addicts and skip all their classes. 'Cause they could. Freedom, etc. "School with no walls." By the time I got in off the waiting list, I was already at boarding school. I was like, sorry bitches! My brother went there though. His year, it was all lottery, and he didn't get in at first but made it via waiting list.
Anyhow, in 8th grade, I made a documentary about "the line." I re-edited it today to make it shorter and less boring. I've described my hair in this phase of life as an Angela Chase bob with a Zach Morris hair flip. I shoulda just let it be. My Mom's hair is also awesome. YouTube is retarded, so I don't know if you can see my subtitle, but when my Dad is talking about our plan, look at Mom's coat in the background.
Apple Store Line: What a miracle that they've finally concocted a semi-efficient system at their new Fifth avenue store. I woke up at like, dawn, more than once to wait in Soho. To wait and wait again. And then more.
Forever 21 Line: With clothes so cool, it's no surprise the line's always 50 yards long. I've literally spent an hour there selecting Hot Fashions only to abandon them in the sunglasses bin mid-line, convinced it's not worth it. Also; when you finally get to the front, you're probs not 21 anymore because: 1. The line's literally 100 years long. Those faux-vintage rainbow-patterned short-shorts aren't gonna look hot on your varicosed legs so give up now, fossil. 2. If you're lucky enough to stand behind an under-21 customer and overhear any of their conversation [bla bla ttyl lol cell phone bla oral sex on the playground bladibla], you'll feel geriatric.
Vans Warped Tour Line: I remember this line because I wanted to kill my boyfriend for being so cranky when it was his idea to attend this G-dforsaken event in the first place. I don't remember why they made us line up, either. We already had tickets.
Whole Foods: The Chelsea outlet's got a really serious line system with line captains and lights. It works quite well. Howevs, it'd be better if they moved the brownie samples from the bakery area, where they're only accessible by patrons of the third line, and into a more central area, accessible to all line-waiters. I think that's what the organic farmers who created these brownies would want for mankind.
Response to Request for Ideas for "Line Blog":
1. Tickets for the Spice Girls Reunion Concert.
2. If they ever made Newsies into a live musical, I honestly don't think I could stand the idea of anyone seeing it before I did.
3. If this was some weird fantasy world where poets are rock stars, clearly I'd wait all day for Stephen Dunn. I've seen him read though a few times, but still. Really, actually, I'm having a hard time comprehending the idea of people waiting in line for poetry, I can't even conceptualize this hypothetical.
4. Free things that're worth a lot of money. These're usually in the form of "contests" or something though, so probs not.
5. Shakespeare in the Park starring someone I loved. Though I never have waited in line for SITP tickets, which says something. About truthiness.
6. If all my friends were doing it. That might be fun. Like camping.
Blackbird singing in the dead of night, take these broken wings and learn to fly, all your life, you were only waiting ...
The thing is, I've never been comfortable with:
1) Extreme want/desire.
2) Pouring excessive energy or time into anything that isn't guaranteed to work out.
Don't they have jobs? Families? I wonder about the people waiting for iPhones. How could you want anything so badly that you'd wait in line to PAY for it? Ten minutes've passed in line at Whole Foods and I already feel I've been had. How dare you make me wait to fulfill this want? This desire for organic strawberries? Certainly I can do without this, yeah? Certainly I can talk myself out of it? When you get in line, and wait, you're making a physical expression of want, which for me means dependence, which scares the shit out of me. I wish I didn't need anyone or anything for anything, ever. Lines make me feel like a sheep/robot, like waddling along the weaving ropes/the poles of the complicated line for The Raptor at Cedar Point, desperate enough to be scrambled around and whizzed through the air that I've paid for it and'll wait two hours for three minutes of it. You've convinced me to want this, and now I'm here, shuffling along, waiting.
I have an almost destructive inability to wait in line for food at group eating events. Like, I loathe those moments I'm standing there with my plate, waiting? I'll wait until the line's completely done, then go forage for scraps.
As soon as "but you might not get in" is added to the description of a potential line to wait in (a sold-out show, an exclusive club, live television taping, contest of some sort, whatever), my desire to stand in it's completely zapped. Disappointment's inevitable: we can make the best plan ever for getting into Community High School and not make it, I can completely plan on attending NYU film school and not make it ... because every time, it feels like I've been had, you know? Clearly I'd've finished writing my book if I didn't have some complicated relationship with the conviction that it'll actually sell. Instead, I obsessively track the decline of the publishing industry almost to talk myself out of myself.
Maybe this relationship to investment-->reward (as in, I want to believe in it really badly but totes DON'T) is why I'm convinced every thing I do choose to put my heart into's gotta be the one to work out, because I'm standing here, after all, showing that I WANT.
If I work hard enough, I can make it happen. I will make this work. This project is worth it, I'll give up everything I will wait, I'll wait potentially forever, outside, even, in the cold, I'll bring a tent, I'll leave my life at home, rain whatever, hail whatever, I've been in worse lines, I'll give up everything everything to be ... America's Next Top [Girlfriend?] ... I've got what it takes ... I could lose so much but I could also win! everything! ... I'm not waiting for a chance, I'm waiting for everything I wanted to arrive/return ... now there is no pain you are receding shine on you crazy diamond look in your eyes like black holes in the sky distant ship...
... because I'm pretty convinced that nothing works out and I want someone to prove me wrong. I'm certain that any kind of investment rarely equals reward, that most things'll crash and it'll be violent and the heart'll break ...
I've solved this problem in my life by avoiding risky investments of time or emotion [e.g., relationships] and it's actually a pretty good strategy. So when I do invest, I'm serious. When I do invest, I invest more. And more. And more. Someone [you? you? redacted magazine? the unblogged story of the conde nast project? etc.?] prove to me that it's okay to shove all my eggs into one basket, to charge headfirst into exhaustion and over-extension of one's self because it seems like it oughta work out. My Mom often tells me it's time to "cut my losses." You win some you lose some you lose some you oughta win some. When I hoped I feared since I hoped I dared
I waited for you hungrily, just short of desperate."
-Stephen Dunn, "The Waiting."
-Tori Amos, "The Waitress."
I praise how, finally, it never learns."
-Stephen Dunn, "Desire."
And ... something else about all that?
If I'd gotten into Community High, maybe I wouldn't've ever gone to Interlochen, and if I hadn't gone there then I woulda missed out on the rest of my life, on absolutely EVERYTHING! And I do believe (cue Christina Aguilera ballad) that everything happens for a reason. Really, I do.
Sometimes it takes a while for the point to emerge from the madness, but I'm pretty satisfied right now with the possibility at my fingertips, a million unfinished lines shooting out of my nails like Wolverine's claws -- but gentle, hesitant, non-violent and reaching towards attention. I'm blindly groping for what it is we're waiting for, but kinda pretty sure, every now and then, that I can ... and will ... get it?
- David Bowie, Starman