Sitting in the queue (at the blood donors)

Queues are fascinating places.

People show their character in a queue.

I’m sat with over 30 other people waiting to give some blood to the nhs. The red cushioned steel framed chairs are comfortable enough.

This activity is normally a slick routine with the queue moving seamlessly from station to station with little interruption.

Beside me the lady who has been waiting over an hour has just been called and stands with a mini cheer. We’ve just been talking about how much this queue has cost her, John Lewis will be the providers of her boredom purchases. She says she feels guilt about it, but her face says something different.

A moment passes and the man on the other side of me is called. He leaves silently but there’s an excitement in the queueing mass caused by the sudden progress. It’s not really progress though, it’s an anomaly of scheduling and everyone settles back into there infinite scrolling on their portable screens.

The lady behind me is trying to persuade her teenage daughter that it’s not going to be much longer. “Are we nearly there yet”l They’ve only been here for 10 minutes and the lady who’s just been called was also here for an hour. I suspect that honest may have been a better policy.

Another woman is called as I’m looking at my screen. The name that is called is the same as my deceased mother-in-law, before I’ve realised what I’m doing I have looked up to see if it’s her.

The two men behind me are convinced that the wait is getting shorter, but all that has happened is that people have stopped joining the queue. This is the last session of the day and we are nearing its end.

A lady behind me leaves the queue, she’s left her dinner in the oven and tells the new lady beside me that she worried her kitchen will be full of smoke. She’s already been here for 45 minutes and was only expecting 20.

To my left there are four men, all from the same company. Well, I’m assuming they are because they are wearing the same clothes with the same logos. They haven’t said a word to each other all the time I’ve been here (40 mins). I hope they are playing a game together on their screens, but think it’s more likely they just can’t be bothered to talk. It must be an exciting place to work.

Across from the queue I can see the people tucking into their reward biscuits. I can see from here that it’s Clubs today. Is a club biscuit enough of a reward to continue waiting? It’s quite a nice reward.

There are still people ahead of me, but it’s hard to tell how many as we are spread across two rooms.

Another two names are called. One of them is from the group of four. He stands up without saying anything to the others. They aren’t playing fruit ninja together then.

I’m sitting here debating whether I’m ok to go to the loo. They make you drink when you arrive, to make sure you are hydrated to give. I suspect that most of us are thinking the same thing. I don’t want to miss my turn.

Another name. Another from the four.

The father and son behind me have planned the refurbishment of a bathroom while I’ve been here. They are currently debating radiators and who is the best plumber, someone called Andy appears to be a favourite, but Jason is apparently easier to work with.

There’s now a queue for the Club biscuits. I hope there’s some left by the time I get there.

It’s now 50 minutes and I feel that I’ve invested too much to leave now. I’m sure they’ll get to me soon.

It’s definitely time to go to the loo. While I’m in there I hear another name being called.

It wasn’t me.

(When I got to the end there were no club biscuits left)

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