“How do you kill time when you are in a queue?” asked the bored lady in a long bank queue.

I bet you have asked yourself that same question on several occasions. Maybe you were queuing in a bank and you needed to do more than just stare at the nape of the person standing in front of you.

If you are not so lucky the teller behind the glass counter could have had a riotous weekend and their bodies could be having trouble adjusting to work mode. You might have to wait as he scrutinizes every piece of paper, makes slow calculations, and punches his keyboard with a lazy forefinger as he wishes for the comfort of his bed to nurse his hangover.

I too have had to contend with endless queues especially when schools are opening and I (together with a million other Kenyans) have to deposit school fees for my school-going children. I have found myself shifting my weight from one foot to the other rather impatiently on many occasions.

I then decided to stop staring at my neighbor’s (sometimes not so clean) shirt collar, to stop the agitation, and do one of the following instead:

1. Read a book:

I always carry a book around. I am currently reading Chimamanda’s Americana and when queue moments present themselves, I unleash it, bury myself in it and forget that I hate queues.

2. Access the internet:

Using my phone, I take this perfect opportunity to go to my inbox and read those long emails that I have not read since forever. I use this time to send emails and reply to them as well.

3. Text/WhatsApp:

Since phone calls are frowned upon in the banking hall, I could opt to text or WhatsApp friends and family. This is the time to contact that funny friend who always has funny videos the likes of “Gerrrarahia!”(remember that one?) for the latest hilarious videos, memes or interesting news clips.

4. Write:

My phone has an app that I use to jot down my thoughts in shorthand. I normally use these short notes to write a full article later on. Who would have thought that queues are one way of fueling your creative fires, right?

5. Listen to music:

With earphones on, and my favorite playlist playing in my ear, I never feel the queue moving. Especially if I sing along silently or mouth the words as I move along. No queues will get me down.

6. File nails:

When I forget my book, misplace my earphones, and when nothing creative is forthcoming for me to jot down, I fetch my nail file and use it to file my nails. Isn’t it unbelievable how your days can get so busy that you get no time to tend to your nails? Oh well, maybe you understand. Or maybe you don’t?

How do you kill time when in a long queue?


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