Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Amusement Park Emotions Part 2: Proletariat Solidarity

So the line for Superman is 3 hours long. We didn’t know that going in, but after an hour it was clear it was going to be a while. I glance around and I see a cross section of American cutlure and class. There are families, couples and teenagers representing the full economic, ethnic, and rudeness spectrum.

Whatever labels may be attached to us, based on our skin color, fashion sense or hygiene, are swept aside. We are all on equal standing, having paid our $37.50 to stand in this line. This extremely long line. We exchange knowing looks and commiserate in our shared boredom. We eavesdrop on each other, check out the attractive people, stare too long at the funny looking people and keep a vigilant eye out for the enemy – the cutter . Line cutting is not permitted and, quite frankly, would get your ass kicked.

That is, unless you dish out an additional $20 for the Qbot! What is a Qbot? It’s a small pager looking device that you scan at a gate and lets you cut in line. Actually I think it pages you when it’s time for you to ride, so you don’t have to stand in line. Or maybe it warps the time/space continuum so that what is 3 hours to me is 7 seconds to you. Regardless, we see these people walk right up to the front of the line and the 16-year-old manning the chain pulls it aside, and lets them ride. Often they glance smuggly at the throngs of people, standing like cattle in our steel piped maze.

Yep, The Six Flags people put the Qbot line in clear veiw of the normal line – which I like to call the "Line of the People". You could feel the tension every time some Qbot wielding person marched up those stairs and hopped right on the coaster. There was unrest amongst the masses. We were paying customers, but that Qbot line was the preverbal lunch counter. While we stand in our corner, waiting for a spot to sit, they saunter right up and finish their meal before we even have a menu in our hands. This is America dammit! Equal opportunity! There was revolution in the air.

But then the line moves 10 feet and we are distracted and scurry forward. Quickly we forget our fantasies of overthrowing the beurgois and their little Qbots of privilege.

In the end, I suppose the opportunity is equal. In America we all have equal opportunity to shell out extra dough for little electronic gizmos that raise our social status. I just don't think it's worth it. But other times, I envy those who do.

1 comment:

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