Although many of us have already forgotten the momentous day that was Standinaqueue Day, I am rather pleased to say that it has not been forgotten by the lovely Dr David Brand. Yesterday in my inbox, I received his brilliant entry about a queue that he was in on November the 9th:
Here is my, admittedly rather late, contribution to StandinaQueue Day:
A few days after StandinaQueue Day, I looked at your website and thought, rather sadly, that I hadn’t actually stood in any queues on the great day. But then I realised that I had, in fact, stood in a rather interesting queue without realising it.
A new professor at the University of Brighton was due to give an inaugural lecture with the intriguing title ‘Smashing Atoms’; here’s the slightly alarming poster for it:
(I’m afraid that I have no other pictures.) Well, as I knew the Professor slightly, I felt that I should attend her lecture, so I trekked off to the University after work. The lecture room was at the back of the main building; it was comfortable, but rather cold.
We were told that refreshments would be provided after the lecture in the canteen (two floors above the lecture theatre). So, at the end of the lecture, all the academics, friends and family of the professor, and assorted hangers-on moved towards the door and the stairs. The inevitable result (since this was England) was the formation of a delightful queue of around 100 people.
William Deed, as you have so rightly stressed on many occasions, it is the essence of the English queue that there should be no talking (or any other inessential communication). In this case, however, everyone in the queue knew several other people there. The result, of course, was that the queue became noisy and rather ill-defined. People kept seeing other friends at other places in the queue, and moving one or two places towards the back or front.
Eventually, we arrived at the canteen where only two people were serving wine and food. This meant that the queue moved very slowly, but the prospect of a glass of wine was enough to keep us all happy.
As people in a queue move through it they usually walk away after they have reached the front (and been served). In this queue, though, people just moved aside a little, so that the queue gradually changed shape from a line into a kind of amorphous rectangle. People suddenly recognised friends that had been some way away from them in the queue, so there was quite a bit of shuffling around.
After taking our glass of plonk and a plate of food, we all mingled and chatted, and the noise level began to rise steadily. I’m glad to say, however, that everyone behaved impeccably, and there was no unseemly jostling.
So I did StandinaQueue on StandinaQueue Day after all. I hope that this account of a happy, chatting queue will add to the considerable body of queue research that you, William Deed are in the process of amassing for the benefit of mankind.