Wednesday, May 18, 2011

It’s a fact of everyday American life, waiting. Has been for probably a hundred years. The big difference between then and now, is that we, as a culture, do a lot of that waiting in our cars. Not a new idea, “standing” in line while sitting in your vehicle is at least as old as drive-in restaurants. The whole American love of the automobile back in the 1950’s gave birth to those drive-in restaurants, drive-in movies, and the new hobby of driving aimlessly to show off the car or to just because.

Now Americans drive everywhere. To shop, eat, visit, sit in line, to exercise. Yep. Instead of walking places, we drive. Then we drive to the gym. What’s the most used piece of equipment in the gym? The treadmill, of course. But it’s the waiting in line that’s become the great American pastime, waiting in line while sitting in a car. What’s the problem? What isn’t the problem.

First, there’s the lack of exercise. Why is there an obesity epidemic? Why are blood clots becoming more common (sitting for long periods predispose a person to blood clots)? Second, there’s the needless blasting of exhaust into the air. Killing the environment, just one more reason why fast food isn’t good for you. Third, there’s the irritability factor. Waiting in long lines, smelling exhaust, lack of exercise; all things that tend toward irritability in a person.

Of course, businesses love in-car waiting. Saves room inside the business, there is less need for parking spots, and one person can handle the entire line. Win for them, and I understand that. Drive-up business is also great for parents of young children and for folks who are disabled. But for the rest of us? Not so good.
If we all got out and went in, we could change everything. Less obesity, fewer blood clots, less exhaust in the air. Healthier for us, healthier for the environment. And more jobs because businesses would need more workers to handle the inside lines.

I doubt American culture will change much over the next few years, but each of us make a choice every single time we sit in our car instead of getting out to stand in line. If you’re culture isn’t like this, more power to you. Do what you can to keep it that way. The rest of us, step away from the car!

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