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End of the Line in America

End of the Line in America

I went down to the Port Authority in Manhattan to get on a Greyhound bus to Rochester, New York. I walked down through the terminal, located my gate, and there found around 200 friggin’ people wanting to get on my bus. I was taken aback at first, but then resolved to just insert myself into the mish-mash of people to get as near to the front of the line as possible.

Standard operating procedure.
Wade from Vagabond Journey.com
in Albion, New York State, USA- December 20, 2008
Travelogue Travel Photos — Travel Guide

Then I stopped short at the thought:

“Wait, I am in the USA, I have go to the end of the line.”

People actually wait in line in this country, ordinary attempts to cut in front of people do not work so well here. So I began my venture to the end of the line. I walked around one corner and then another before I realized that the line stretched like a long snake all through the bus terminal. All the buses on this route had been canceled the previous day, and this left hundreds of people trying waiting patiently to get on the same bus.

The line was long, it snaked in and out of vending areas, around corners, and went in circles, but everyone in it stood quietly in their place. There were white Americans, black Americans, Indians, soldiers, Arabs, some fellow who appeared to be from the Nation of Islam, a group of Hispanic women – people from all over the world – and they all stood in neat formation; all waiting patiently for their rightful turn to get on a bus.

This line was a thing of beauty.

Seldom while traveling in a world where the queues for public transport often resemble moshpits do I ever come across such a magnificent line.

I remember a paraphrase from the movie Maria full of Grace:

“What do you think of America?”

“Everything is so straight there.”

Related Pages:
Time to Leave New York City
USA People Not Robots
Work in the USA

Culture of USA
Psychology of Waiting Lines
Queuing Psychology
Scientists Seek to Make Waiting in Line More Bearable

Links to previous travelogue entries:
Cultural Relativity Debate
Woolly Mammoth Skeleton
Photography Lesson in New York City

End of the Line in America
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Filed under: Culture and Society, New York, New York City, USA

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 80 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3165 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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