Q Is For Queue

Q stands for Queue
It’s just something that we British like to do
We don’t form a line
Or a snake, tail or vine
Just call it a Queue – we’ll be fine

Forming a queue, whether it’s when waiting for a bus or a train, waiting for a shop to open, or at the cash register in a store, well it’s something that most British people were brought up to do, although sadly these days not everyone respects this great British tradition.

If anything it’s our downfall, as the BBC reported over the weekend on the 99th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.  It was the British politeness that was probably responsible for a higher number of British people drowning than other nationalities, since they allowed others to board the lifeboats ahead of them.

I never thought much about the term “Queue” until I moved to Indiana in the mid 1990’s, and mentioned to someone one day about forming a queue, only to be met with a blank stare.

Of course in the USA people don’t form a queue, they make a line instead.

Looking back, this person probably had a mental picture of everyone trying to form a circle, with several of them standing out to make a tail, in other words a letter Q.

Language is a funny thing isn’t it, and I certainly found it awkward in the Midwest, trying to understand what people were saying to me, as well as trying to make them understand what I was trying to tell them.

So while you might be happy to form a line, or just gather at the doors like an angry mob waiting for them to open, me?  I’m British, so I will just queue…

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