Sunday, August 27, 2006

Cutting the Line: a (Very) Bitter Diatribe

I used to think it was a universal value that when someone is standing in a line and you arrive, you stand behind him or her. But apparently I was mistaken. Today I was thrown into a not-so-funny situation with a lot of rude people. Unfortunately, they were mostly Muslims (Muslim Day at Ontario Place). It's like this: there's one person in the line ahead of you who's saving a spot for his 23 cousins, 7 aunts, and 9 nephews. So whilst you're waiting in line, people keep coming ahead of you because someone is saving them a spot. It really boggles the mind. And then there are the people who press up against you for no apparent reason at all. My family and I were in line for one of their movies today (which really sucked, by the way) and there was this woman and her family who were trying to cut in front of us, so we all stood shoulder to shoulder in a wall-like fashion. My dad was whispering violently "maintain the wall! Maintain the wall!" It was pretty funny now that I think about it. But I was fuming at the time. Then, this woman was standing so close behind me in the line that she stepped on my shoelace and I almost fell over. So my shoelace came undone and I kept stumbling because she was continuously stepping on it as I was trying to move forward in the line. Then she started complaining to me saying "your shoelace is undone." I think I turned red because I was so angry. But I calmly explained to her that it was too crowded for me to bend down and tie it. Then she starting speaking another language to her husband or whoever was with her: "blah dee da dee da laces, blah blah blah laces." HELLO, I CAN TELL YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT ME BECAUSE YOU KEEP USING THE WORD "LACES!" GAH!! Man, Muslims seriously need to revaluate the terms "common decency" and "behaving like human beings while in the presence of others." End of (very) bitter diatribe.


Gabriel (CMood) said...


Damn, it's good that you controlled your anger. I probably would have exploded on that woman if it was me and let my mouth run. That would have made the situation a lot worse so good thing you didn't. It's just really sad when people act so rudely to each other -- particularly, Muslims. It's not even like you did anything rude to that woman. She stepped on your shoelace and wouldn't get off it and got mad? Even worse, started talking in another language.

It's all good, Asmaa. All of us have dealt with people like that before and have been in this type of situation. You'll be mad today but tomorrow you'll forget about it ... guaranteed. :) But yeah, these people are not even worth thinking about. They think the world revolves around them.

- Gabriel -

Nusaybah said...

Oh my God, that was just plain annoying. Everybody was just saying, "excuse me, I have to get to my family". And then you got so mad when the next guy passed by and then said to him, "lemme guess, you have to get to a family member"...and then he's like, "actually I have to get to my wife". SAME THING. PSHT.

And then, on top of that, little kids were pushing us and trying to get through. Seriously, these people should learn what "lining up" really means.

Anonymous said...

As salaamu alaikum Asmaa :D,
MashAllah, it's so amazing you remained patient instead of shouting back at the lady because in hindsight you would have felt silly that you shouted back. Now you can look back and hey you just increased your patient circle :)

Man, wait till you see ladies in pakistan at a wedding when the food is announced. If you don't try to remain in the "line" you will never get your food, and SubhanAllah, there's soo much food, yet people treat it as if it's going to end.

Anyhow..I miss you!! I hope you're doing well inshAllah, I don't really want school to start but hey i'll get to see all of you guys :)

Elizabeth said...

Heh. So, I've been wondering lately what good line etiquette looks like. I was recently in a long line (and I would have been totally upset to have people added in front of me like you did) and another family that we know showed up. They were just getting there and there were a ton more people behind us. They were looking at the end of the line and sighing, but I just didn't feel it would be right to let them in with us. But what about immediate family? I've always thought that it was fine for one from our immediate family to go and save a place for the rest of us--but there's only four of us. And what about people who consider their second cousin twice removed to be just as close as their children or their husband or their mother?

But pushing up behind is just a nuisance. I don't understand why in the world people do that.

One time when we were driving home from Thanksgiving, we of course got in lots of traffic of people doing the same as us. There was one intersection on the highway we were driving that had a stop light....but there were cars about a mile back from the intersection. It was out in the middle of nowhere, so there was just dirt beside the road. Some people started cutting ahead, driving on the dirt to get ahead of other cars. I was just about to be driven batty--they were slowing things down for everyone else, and did they think their time was more valuable than everyone else's? We eventually called the police, if for no other reason that we figured there was going to be some major road rage if the situation was not brought into control.

And so, we see, it's certainly not just Muslims. :-) And here in the US, Greek Orthodox folks line up nicely for communion, but in Greece they elbow and shove their way to the front. Very unbecoming.

Azam said...


lol, I began cracking up because I've been in these situations before. Seriously, these muslims piss me off so bad because it brings a bad name to islam.

It's mostly with the desis, so disorganized it's not even funny, happens at the masjids as well when there's some event going on.

I would probably have burst and shouted and complained at the person, 'cause I've been able to do that a lot lately =P usually I'd stay quite.

Mashallah you stayed paitent and may allah rewards you and make the person realize how much hardship she placed on you.

ShahRukh said...

Asalaam u Aleykum,

I am glad that you remained patient and conducted yourself quite appropriately in such a distressing scenario.

Disorganization amongst muslims reflects the lack of concern for islamic education (esp adaab) and leadership in our communities, which requires lots of optimism and hope in our people, and would take time to develop, Insha'Allah.

On a side note, the little sufi in me thinks, 'if you were a Sufi, your bitterness may have turned into sweetness, your anger into calmess, and your sorrow into ecstacy of love and hope for the Ummah.
If you were a Sufi..."


Nauman said...

I used to work at Ontario Place a few years ago and I found it odd how the Muslims acted on it - it was as if they had suddenly forgotten their manners. However, they were nice with me seeing as how they were happy to see a bearded Muslim for the most part. I'd always get asked if I knew such-and-such...

Mars said...

OH MAN. ASMAA & NUSAYBAH - I wish I was with you guys so I could tell them off. Dang, telling people off is wonderful. I truly miss it. Especially if it's in English. *Sigh*

Waiting in line in Egypt.. I don't think Egyptians understand the meaning of the word. For example, buying fool at the local fool chain (fool is fava beans in some wicked sauce .. ahh fool yumm). There is a line. Or there should be one.. but people cut you off and dont even say "excuse me, I'm in a rush.." Pshht.. I'd be there for hours if the fool guy didn't eventually realize that there's this foreign girl waiting for some food.

Anyhow, props to you for holding on to those patience balloons :) It's a good thing you didn't inherit my lack-of-patience.

Sufi dude - Pshht.. biterness anger and sorrow are natural human emotions. We don't need to follow any sufi order to know how to deal with these emotions. Asmaa, I'll leave you to respond to this one cos well, it's your blog :D

Miss you babe. A dang lot.

Asmaa said...

I think all of you took the post a tad bit too seriously ;) hehe, anger passes rather quickly.

Gabriel, yeah I would really be afraid for the woman if it was you she was pushing. Haha, poor woman.

Nusa, I agree. I think you should teach them. By carrying a big stick.

Sadaf, I'm not sure that I increased my patience circle by much seeing as how I blogged about it right when I got home. I think it has more to do with my cowardly characteristics. I hate confrontations. Miss you too - I'm going to start stalking you once school starts >:D

Elizabeth, okay, the difference between Muslims and non-Muslims(not trying to badmouth my brethren, but I have to say it) is that when Muslims say "I'm waiting for my family," they really mean "there are 17 people who are coming to meet me here. At the front of the line." Muslims have large families. But, I think it's a problem in general. People's sense of decency isn't exactly at an all time high.

Azam, thanks, but let's not limit it to desis. Take for example this scenario: 10 Pakistanis are cutting in front of a pair of Arabs. The Arabs start cussing and being violent - which group is better? Neither is :)

Shahrukh, I agree with you - it's a lack of Islamic education that pushes people to be uncaring and rude. But hold up here for a second - so is the little sufi in you saying that since, alhamdulillah, I'm not a sufi, I can't be calm, sweet, or have love and hope for the ummah? I don't think so :)

Nauman, listen, I have a question for you. Is there anywhere in Toronto/Mississauga that you haven't worked at for a period of time? Because I'm seriously starting to doubt it :D

Marrrrs, the whole time I was thinking "man, if Mariam was here, these people would be quivering with fear!" Haha, aww Mariam can't get through to the fool...that's so sad >:) Don't burn down your apartment building with your experimental cooking on a gas stove! I miss you too, ara.

Squeeky said...

Assalaamu Alaikum :)

Aww, I'm sorry you had an unpleasant experience at the CNE. Reminds me of something very similiar when I went there last month, I believe. A show was about to begin and behind us, was a father with his three sons, three very annoying sons. They were saving about 8 seats for their family. Naturally, people coming in wanted those seats but those guys wouldn't budge. The show is half way done and those seats are still not taken up! All the while, I have to listen to them arguing with people because other's want their seat. I also wanted to scream. ugh!

"little asmaa" said...

I'm just grateful Asmaa has this blog to serve as an outlet for her frustrations. It makes living with her a little more bearable.

A very little.

*Under*Cuver*Sister* said...


we had something similar in London...Islam Expo, over 4 days. I was lucky enough [sarcasm] to not only be helpin at the event but to be one of three at the 'information' point. Imagine Many Muslims... Enough said. Its sad, but as they say 'if you dont want to be part ofan organised religion, become muslim'

May Allah grant us all more sabr. Ameen.

Umar said...

It absolutely ticks me off when people do that.

I don't care who they are, how old or young, or of whatever background... I just look at them straight in the eye and say "Hey, there's a line!"

Asmaa said...

Squeeky, walaikum assalaam. Grrr @ inconsiderate people!

Little Asmaa, oh be quiet. You love me.

Undercover, non-organized religion, that's a classic! :D

Umar, join the club. Well, you're a little braver than me. Like I said, I hate confrontations.

'liya said...

I ended up going to the CNE on that day, meaning to cross over to Ontario Place.. but forgot once there. Anyways, this applies to all people, not just Muslims.

The best thing you can do is try to make yourself as big and fat as possible so that if it's a tight space - they can't fit through.
Another thing I've used before is if someone annoying steps on your foot you should yell very loudly even if it doesn't hurt. Pretend to be deeply injured throughout the line so that nobody else thinks of cutting in front of poor injured you.

Asmaa said...

Haha! Aaliya, I would have never thought of that. Yes, I'll make sure to scream bloody murder. Orrr eat A LOT of donuts. Wow, this is going to hurt. lol

mezba said...

quite a lot of good ideas I got while stumbling across your blog from liya's. Ya, the part about where Muslims are rude in the line to other Muslims is sad. I always noticed at this muslim evetns the washroom is flooded by people doing wudu carelessly. cleanliness maybe half the iman but certainly some people need to practice it. Maybe we need some wudu machines.

Amani said...

I have a better story. I was at Eid one year, and afterwards they served donuts and juice. Anyway, I got in line and, eventually, got my donut. Anyway, this woman tried to cut in front of me, and then when that didn't work, she tried to physically remove the donut from my hand...omg...some Muslims need to reevaluate adab...