How to Queue

Last night Dena and I spent almost as much time waiting in line for a rental car as we did flying to Denver. I’m not interested in naming the company or analyzing what went wrong. This is just setting the scene.

At around the one hour mark, I struck up a casual conversation with the man behind us in the queue. The usual small talk about where you came in from, why you were here, what you do, etc.

We didn’t seem to have much in common, but we kept talking. We were both stuck in the same line, and had the attitude that it was a better way to spend the time than fuming about something we couldn’t change.

And then he mentioned that he studied film in college, even though he never went out and made a career of it.

Boom. There was a stronger connection.

That sent us off on a whole trajectory where I found out he took classes taught by Stan freaking Brakhage.

So yes, I was exhausted when we finally got to our hotel, and dinner wound up being a sandwich from 7-11, but I ain’t mad about it.

I got to hear about the time that Stan Brakhage showed Jean Cocteau’s *Beauty and the Beast* to his class and then pivoted to using it to denounce Walt Disney’s filmmaking. Or how he loved to show Orson Welles movies and talk through them.

As Dena remembers it, “Yeah, you fanboyed hard.”

I did. It’s true.

We weren’t the only two people having that kind of conversation. I caught snippets of conversations from people jammed together in line who decided they could spend the night angry, or meet a new person.

There was time enough to move past the obvious differences and meet somewhere in the overlap on our personal Venn diagrams.

All because we were stuck in the same slow-moving line.