Monday, 23 August 2010

The British art of Queing

Our local paper published a rather funny explanation and set of observations on the noble art of queing as refined and practiced by the British. It is a rather amusing observation of the the British people and goes into the niceties of waiting your turn, keeping the correct distance between yourself and the next in line and so on.

The writer of the article suggests that the British get very touchy when foreigners fail to observe the nicieties or attempt to 'jump the queue.' The article explains how it is vitally important to keep just enough space between you and the next person to avoid being asked 'Is this the end of the queue?' Of course, it also suggests that the British find everyone else's approach to queing incomprehensible. Here I will confess that attending a communion service can be an alarming experience in most churches as, at the invitation, the entire congregation rises and heads for the point of distribution where something of a scrum can develop! To anyone used to the strictly ordered Church of England, 'stand in line and wait your turn at the rail' approach it can seem disorderly.

British queues are something of a joke everwhere and one story is told of a queue forming simply to see why everyone else was queing. Nothing gets the British sense of fair play going faster than to be stood waiting in a queue only to have someone sail past to the head of the line - and get away with it. Blue-rinsed grandmothers have been known to make threats with their brollies at the mere hint of such a flagrant breach of 'fair play!'

It has to be said though, that queing does mean that everyone gets served, everyone gets a fair opportunity and though we all mumble about the delay and having to wait our turn, we all do it.

"It's the only fair way to do things, don'cha know!"

1 comment:

  1. Queueing is what sets a civilised society apart from the rest. It is a sign of forbearance and fairness, of patience and respect for our fellow man. It is a visible sign of how we have risen above the behaviour of wild animals. And most of all, it is British!!!