Lines, Everywhere I Look

I recognize I live in one of, if not the fastest growing city in the US. Portland is about ready to burst. Since I moved here (yes, I realize I am a hypocrite) 18 months ago, eight new apartment buildings have gone up or are being built within a 12 block radius of my apartment. This of course brings some issues when trying to get around the city, especially this one. Portland is not a huge place, and the way the highways are built, there is no room for adding lanes, so traffic is a constant. But that also means there are lines, almost everywhere thats worth going.

I don’t mind waiting in lines, when its unavoidable. Airports suck and a big part of that is waiting in lines. Its bad enough waiting in the security line, but if you have to check a bag, it just compounds what a mess the airport already is. However, I don’t want to drive to Michigan to see my niece and nephew, so its necessary. But waiting in line 30 minutes to eat some tacos? Thats just stupid.

Every time I have read or heard about a new restaurant, food cart or any place that is the new hot spot for food in this city, there is always a line. Its a fact of life in this city. However, I still refuse to wait in line for food, its absurd to me. Its also a colossal waste of time, and to me a symptom of what society has become: instant gratification above all else.

A perfect example is Pine State Biscuits. I heard for months I had to eat there. Everything is made from scratch and the sandwiches are awesome. They have three locations around town, so I figured maybe a quick wait if anything. My first attempt was about 8:30 am on a Saturday, so you have to assume you are going to have the weekend crowd, even though Portland likes to sleep in. I get to one location and the line is halfway down the block. Are you kidding me? Who has that time to lose?

Now this is definitely not an attack on Pine State. I love the way they handle customers: you cannot claim a spot at the counter or a table until you have ordered. Genius move right there, and obviously their food is awesome, or they wouldn’t have a line. But I am not spending 45 minutes to get food on a weekend, one of my two free days of the week its insane. I am an hour and a half from the Pacific Ocean and just over an hour from Mt Hood. Maybe if I was still living in Ohio I would because there is nothing else to do there, but I am in Oregon for Lemmy’s sake!

The real crime here is when you wait and the food is less than great. I won’t name any places like that in Portland, because as I rail on the people who have time to wait in line, they are also the ones that have time to scour the internet looking to delve out what they think is justice. A friend of mine named one place and they went off on him, even telling him they wished the cancer he was fighting would win…OVER A FREAKING RESTAURANT REVIEW. But, I digress. When that situation occurs it amplifies the food, but it also makes average food worse.

People wait in line for 45 minutes, and if the food is not amazing, people get pissed off. The funny part is, its not the restaurant’s fault, its yours. I am sure they are flattered that people are willing to wait for their food, its a sign they are doing something right. But if you’re pissed at them, my guess is you’ve never taken responsibility for something in your life. No one coerced you to wait in line. There was no monetary bonus, or even a life or death situation, you choose it. So if you get to the front and the food wasn’t to your expectations, why is it anyone else’s fault? Barring poor quality ingredients or an errant bandaid its on you.

Don’t get me wrong, I have experienced the same thing, and it left me frustrated, but frustrated at myself. Its kind of absurd to wait in line for a great food spot in Portland when there are literally hundreds of choices. There are a few places I have waited and was not disappointed even in the slightest when I got my food, but I also wasted a good amount of time doing it. This is just one of the things that makes me feel like Old Man Marshall yelling at kids to get off his lawn, but I hope I am not alone on this one.

Also, I changed my morning routine on Saturday and hit Pine State Biscuits right as it opened, and its ree-got-damn-diculous. One of my favorite spots in this city and now once a month I make my way to either the Alberta or Schuyler location, and there still is a line, albeit much shorter.


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