Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Get in Line

I love France and all things French. Well, almost all things... French people have no sense of a queue. There I was patiently waiting in line at the post office when a woman in a skinny black skirt and clicking heels stepped right in front of me as I headed up to the window. Surely the clerk would tell her that I was next and ask her to get in line... but no, this is France... and line butting is an art over here.

Rude, aren’t they? I mean really... what kind of people butt in line?

I’ll tell ya what kind. You do. Picture this... you’re driving down the interstate (or any two, three etc. lane road) and you see a huge construction sign on the shoulder. Blink, blink... right lane ends 1 mile. Cars have already slowed, a line has already formed in the left lane. The guy in front of you is still moving along at a good clip so you follow him and contemplate your move into the left lane.

Do you cut in now, as soon as you realized what is going on? Well did you? (Yes? well ok, then this post is not about you, dear considerate person, and I apologize right now for having pointed the finger at you in the last paragraph.)

Maybe you floated along another 1/4 mile and edged in front of a tractor-trailer...

Or not. Now the cars haven’t just slowed on your left, they are crawling... a bumper to bumper metal snake. The guy in front of you finally cuts in with a friendly wave to the driver that held a place for him.

You look left and see the driver in the car next to you is actively ignoring you. Do you put your blinker on and hope the next guy lets you in?

(Not if you’re my husband. You boldly continue on while your wife begins to fret in her seat.)

By now you’ve passed three more signs, the last one indicating that the right lane ends 500 feet ahead. Do you start scanning the drivers to see which one will let you in? Or do you go the distance and then force your way in (after trying to smile and wave your way in.)

It is me you’re cutting in front of and I am going somewhere important too. And while I am wondering who the heck you think you are to fly past the twenty minute wait and push your way to the front of the line, I am also wondering what kind of petty person I am if I don’t let you.

Ok, so most likely I restrained myself and didn’t bang into your car as you angled in front of me, but if you heard me yelling “Canard!” out the window, know that I was insulting you in French.


Leah Spring said...

It's called "Zipper Merging" and 90% of Americans do it WRONG! (this is a huge sore spot with me, can you tell????? LOL) With Zipper merging, the lanes are DESIGNED to work best when you go ALL THE WAY TO THE END of the lane that is ending. THAT is where you're supposed to "Zipper merge", in an alternating fashion (so each car in the lane you're trying to get into lets one car in) The people who merge 1/2 mile OR MORE before that lane ends is DOING IT WRONG! it is so bad in MN, that the DOT issues a press release on HOW to use Zipper Merging.

Anonymous said...

I hate it when people wait for the last minute!You hit one of my pet peeves.

L.L. Barkat said...

And... what if I sneeze on you? ;-)

(Got a good laugh at that comment over on Seedlings.)

TUC said...


I had never heard of the zipper merge (though I am sure my husband has...) so I googled it. And sure enough there's a lively thread about it at

Only in an ideal world would a zipper merge work well, though that is also true of the 40 mph merge a mile from the lane closure :-)

Leah Spring said...

There have been so many studies done on Zipper Merging, and it DOES work well. It is the most efficient way to move traffic when a lane has to be closed down for whatever reason. The reason it doesn't work is because nobody knows how to do it! Ask a new driver. Most were taught zipper merging in class. But those of us who've been driving awhile have never been taught. I think when people renew their license, they should be given a leaflet on how to zipper merge. Eventually, everyone would know how to do it! (weather or not they'd CHOOSE to would be another story, because who likes to be told they've been doing something wrong for 20 years? LOL)

TUC said...

Signs... signs... they need to put up signs saying so... that would be a help :-)

Jennifer @ said...

I got a very good chuckle reading this post. You crack me up. ... For the record, I like the principle of the Zipper Merge, if it would actually work.

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