Like most other married couples, Susan and I like to go out on occasion just to be alone - together. We go to a movie, restaurant, dramatic production, sports activity or some similar event. Often we find ourselves standing in line to either obtain tickets or get into the activity. Sometimes the lines are quite short. On other occasions the lines are rather long. Susan is usually more patient about waiting to get in wherever it is we are going. I, on the other hand, am less patient and immensely dislike standing in long lines.
If the evening activity is something I look forward to, I'll wait it out. That seems sensible enough. That's what everyone else has to do unless they crowd in or crash the line. I have even less patience for line-crashers.There are two other events that Susan and I have recently discussed a good deal. They are weddings and funerals. Either I am getting less patient or the lines are becoming longer. Perhaps both.
Some time ago we attended a wedding reception for a popular couple at the home of the bride's parents. It was a lovely event held in a tastefully decorated back yard. It was a joyous occasion. The only problem was that the greeting line was so long we were literally backed up for half a block. It took the greater part of an hour before we finally reached the wedding party and, along with others, offered our best wishes.
We have also stood in lines at funerals for almost an hour before being able to offer our condolences to the family in mourning. Are we here in Utah destined to spend a significant portion of our life standing in such lines?
I hope someone has an answer. What is a reasonable amount of time for guests to wait in line for weddings or funerals? Do I, and perhaps others, just lack patience? Or might some of these events be better managed to reduce the time guests have to wait in order to participate?
When my mother, Ruth, passed away several years ago we, as a family, decided to do away with the formal reception line to acknowledge those who came to offer their sympathy and condolences. My father, two sisters and I decided we would all just stand somewhere near the casket and greet those who came. There were several hundred who came for the viewing because Mom (Mrs. Barlow) had been their kindergarten or first-grade teacher. I think it worked out just fine the way we did it.
Are there other ways that long lines can be better managed for such things as weddings and funerals? Is there some kind of etiquette format to help us out? How is it handled by other people in other places? In many ways it is a compliment that so many supportive people in our area show up to these social gatherings. But someone write and tell me what might be done to reduce the time guests must wait to participate in Utah's weddings and funerals. I promise you I will print your ideas and insights in a future column.
I don't mean to be overly critical. Quite the contrary. When possible, I like to attend events such as those mentioned. But I don't like standing in a long line for a long time to do so.
Sometimes we do things out of habit or tradition that need to be reassessed or evaluated. Standing in long lines for funerals and weddings may fit that category. How might these and other similar events be otherwise planned and conducted?
Write to 1036 SWKT, BYU, Provo, UT 84602. I await your advice, insights and letters.