Waiting…In Public with Other People

Waiting is hard. Many different emotions wreak havoc with our sanity as we wait for:

  • life to give us a break already.
  • the object of our affection to notice that we’re alive.
  • the inheritance from that mean old uncle who has been blessed with immortality.
  • that dangling carrot of a promotion.
  • the weekend.
  • our lunch order at the really slow fast-food place.
  • the results of our lab tests.
  • that phone call from that person who said they’d call but never did.
  • pay day.

You get the picture.

Waiting can produce feelings of anxiety, frustration, boredom, exhaustion, anger, feigned indifference. Repeat.

Over the last few months, personal business has inserted me into a variety of public spaces where I’ve had to:

  • take a number, have a seat and wait.
  • join a queue and wait.
  • give my name to the receptionist and wait.
  • wait without knowing if I was waiting in the right place because there were no signs or information booths.

[Image via Pixabay]

Even though I try to read my book of the moment as I wait, I inevitably end up looking around the room. There are a few behaviours which irk my soul without fail, and I’m pleased to say that it seems that I’m not the only one. Here goes:

  1. Don’t be a barnacle. Do not attach yourself to the person in front of you. The line won’t move any faster if you take up residence on his or her head. Respect personal space.
  1. Do not speak so loudly into your cell phone that the people around you cannot hear themselves as they try to conduct their business. Being rude is one thing, making us uncomfortable is a whole other level of poor cell phone etiquette. Trust me, we do not want to know that your girlfriend is cheating on you for the umpteenth time and that you always take her back (true story). Your tears and runny nose make it difficult for us to mind our own business.
  1. Do not leave your house without ensuring that you are clean. Personal hygiene is extremely important in public spaces. My nose hairs have been burnt off by oppressive body odours more times than I care to count.
  1. Do not allow your children to run through queues screaming, or roll around on the dirty floor…screaming, while you stand there glued to your WhatsApp conversation. Yes, we’re judging you.
  1. Striking up a conversation is a great way to pass the time while we wait in mutual distress but keep the topics of conversation amiable and PG-13. We do not need to know the frequency with which your husband fails you in the bedroom (another true story). Personally, I’d prefer to talk about the rising cost of bread.
  1. If you are in the business of providing the service for which we are congregating, do not operate with the lethargy of molasses. We have been waiting a long time. Nerves are frayed. You should not chit chat about your weekend shenanigans or whatever reality show while people who are obviously exasperated stare at you with looks that could kill. Do not incite an uprising.
  1. When I enter a public space, I address the entire room with the appropriate greeting for the time of day. I do this because as a child I was taught that this is how people with good manners behave. Do not reward my good manners with deafening silence.

Civility is a beautiful thing. Let’s strive to embrace it.

Did I omit any of your pet peeves? Let me know in the comments below.








  1. 20th June 2017 / 9:58 pm

    Such great points. Civility at all times.

  2. 20th June 2017 / 1:46 pm

    Great piece! I hate waiting but it’s a common side effect of always being early for everything…It’s nothing a good book and a Twitter feed can’t resolve

    • 20th June 2017 / 2:56 pm

      Thanks! Sometimes, people are far too interesting and they distract me from reading, hence this post. 🙂

  3. 20th June 2017 / 9:37 am

    Number 5!!! *ultimate face of shock* no WAY did a stranger lady start talking about sexual disappointments to you?! Bwahahaha! Amazing!

    • 20th June 2017 / 11:42 am

      You would not believe the things perfect strangers are comfortable divulging. Maybe the fact that I’m a stranger makes it easier? I don’t understand the science. LOL

    • 30th December 2016 / 6:36 pm

      Thanks for reading. I try to see the humour so that I don’t get annoyed. lol

  4. 6th December 2016 / 4:45 pm

    No 1 & 2 really get to me lols

    Nice article, interesting read.


    • Melissa
      6th December 2016 / 4:58 pm

      Thanks for the great feedback :-). I prefer to laugh about these situations instead of getting annoyed. Glad you enjoyed the post.

  5. 6th December 2016 / 1:44 pm

    Wow this is great because I suck at small talk, thanks for posting!

    • Melissa
      6th December 2016 / 4:32 pm

      Lol! Thanks for reading! Much appreciated. 🙂

  6. 6th December 2016 / 11:43 am

    This was unexpectedly funny!! Great post.

    • Melissa
      6th December 2016 / 4:31 pm

      Happy to know that I made you smile. Thanks for reading. 😀

  7. Emilie Guerin
    5th December 2016 / 12:20 pm

    Love this! Great blog post!

    • Melissa
      5th December 2016 / 12:24 pm

      Thanks so much, Emilie. Greatly appreciated.

  8. 5th December 2016 / 11:34 am

    Perfect Post. I struggle so much with this and the anxiety I feel make it much worse. Thanks for posting.

    • Melissa
      5th December 2016 / 11:57 am

      Thanks for reading, Kelli-Anne. Hoping the post made you smile. 🙂

  9. yuliaivanova2015
    3rd December 2016 / 12:30 pm

    Thanks for such a great post! Right now, my favourite thing to do when waiting in line is browsing Pinterest, lol. As a blogger, I constantly look for inspiration, so I use time in traffic/waiting to be served to do just that. It keeps my mind busy and puts me in a good mood:)


    • Melissa
      3rd December 2016 / 12:33 pm

      And those are the same reasons that I usually have a book with me! Thanks for reading. Appreciated. 🙂

  10. 3rd December 2016 / 12:20 pm

    Wow so many people need to read these guide lines! thank you for spreading the word!

    • Melissa
      3rd December 2016 / 12:23 pm

      Thanks! Feel free to share! I’m so happy that the post has resonated with so many people. 🙂

    • Melissa
      3rd December 2016 / 12:22 pm

      Thanks for the love! Appreciated! 😀

  11. 3rd December 2016 / 12:19 am

    Pet Peeve of mine and with my generation, I work retail. We give out kids cookies. Do you know how often I have to ask small children what the magic word is? Please. It is please. What has happened? My parents taught me these simple life skills.

    • Melissa
      3rd December 2016 / 12:31 am

      That could be another blog post! My parents were very strict about “please” and “thank you”. Sometimes, I have to hold back from correcting other people’s children when I see them behaving poorly. I don’t think some people recognise that manners and civility are life skills. I shudder to think what would happen if we lost both entirely…

  12. dwellboxes
    2nd December 2016 / 1:31 pm

    What an insightful article. Thank you for sharing 🙂

    • Melissa
      2nd December 2016 / 1:34 pm

      Thanks for reading! Appreciated. 🙂

I would love to "hear" your thoughts! Please leave a comment.