Rendered Fat Content


Norman Rockwell Visits a Ration Board, Norman Rockwell, 1944, The Saturday Evening Post
"I'll probably never learn."

The queue seems endless, progressing painfully slowly. I'm suddenly uncertain what brought me here. If I expected service, I know for sure that I have not found it yet or it has not yet found me. The system might have been designed to extract blood as a prerequisite for being allowed to donate blood. I feel like a shriveling turnip, but I will not leave. Once in line, and once hemmed in on either side, I hold territory which seems to need defending. I will not surrender, no matter how inconvenienced I feel. I hold a waning faith, but still some small potential for grace, a hope with most of its shine dulled to buff. I've already had enough but I will not be shouting "Uncle!" just yet, if ever. Probably never!

Some waits weigh more heavily than others.
What I'd imagined as a smooth progression becomes a rocky transition with stuck spaces in-between. I imagine that should I make it to the head of this line, I might transact my business quickly, certainly more swiftly than has everyone ahead of me so far. I came prepared. I brought my three forms of government-issued identification along with verification of my home address, as stipulated in the regulations. This place needs an express lane for those would-be customers who bothered to read the rules. The unprepared should share their own burden, excluding those of us who already know these ropes.

Airlines maintain a strict hierarchy, segregating their 'golden', 'platinum', and 'black diamond' clients from all others, but most other service queues continue observing a Puritan's primitive form of democracy. First come, first served, with no special privilege allowed. Even the most powerful will be cowed, and it will not matter how loudly you protest, one must simply persist. The meek might tolerate their internments better than the haughty. Who would you have to be to believe you somehow deserved better? As another service bay closes their window so the provider can take their lunch, those still enqueued start bunching up. The time since breakfast seems just that much longer as wait times between customers extend again. Did you really neglect to grab a number before entering the cordoned aisle? You'll be a longer while, then.

Self help gurus must have never found themselves stuck in some line. How else to explain their insistence that even you are in change of your fate? They cite a gospel of more than prosperity, that insists that you might slip through any apparent barrier like mercury through a penny. You haven't any evidence to support that belief, other than an ever-lengthening line of grief garnered from forever waiting your turn. The meek inherit yet another place in yet another line. They will not ever once sneak up from behind to find themselves first served. Good fortune seems more rationed than the rest, which renders received blessings even more dear than they might otherwise seem. At the top of the line, you'll more than likely find that you've survived only the first in a longer line of subsequent queues promising another hour or two before you're freed to go to another similar Hell. Fare thee well.

I try to avoid taking these inconveniences too personally. It's not ever really even a little bit about me. It might not even be about the much-maligned system, which seems to work no more seamlessly anywhere. It's usually Chutes and Ladders and Snakes On A Plane, what I anticipated it being might be most to blame. The schedule I'd imagined when heading out that morning was most likely destined to be folded, spindled, or torn. I'll probably never learn.

©2019 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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