How to form a line.

We learned this in kindergarten, right? You would think so, but I’ve seen too many examples recently where people haven’t learned anything new since that first line experience. So here is an apparently much-needed primer for how to form a line. Let’s assume that if you are in a line with only one entry point, everyone will remain appropriately single file.

However, what if there are multiple variables? Here is where it gets tricky for some of our species. Let’s look at two ways to organize ourselves without an authority figure directing us.

line1

Click to enlarge.

Example 1

Here we have 3 doors, helpfully labeled Door 1, Door 2, and Door 3. We also have a counter with 4 registers and 11 customers. You might think of this as a fast food restaurant during a busy lunch hour. In this example, the customers have decided to organize themselves by forming a single line that begins a few steps inside of Door 1 on the left.

Customers coming in Doors 2 and 3 are quickly confused by the customers obviously waiting out the door while there is plenty of open space in front of multiple registers. They are courteous people and so they attempt to get in line with those in Door 1, although they have no idea who was there before them.

Further complicating this mess is that customer #7, the next customer ‘in line’ is busy texting and unaware of repeated calls for the next customer when a register opens. This one person is now holding up business for the restaurant owner and wasting everyone’s lunch hour. It’s not entirely his fault though; this could easily be remedied if these lines were better managed.

line2

Click to enlarge.

Example 2

In this example, the customers have decided to form multiple lines, one at each register. This is an important leap in imagination, as it solves many of the problems caused by Example 1. For instance:

  1. Customers entering from Doors 2 and 3 can immediately understand where they should go in order to place an order efficiently. We can guess the next customer to come in will go to Register 1 because it has the shortest line.
  2. It restores the ‘first come, first served’ principles because no one has to guess if someone was in line before them or not. In Example 2, it is clear which customers arrived first.
  3. Customers 9, 10 and 11 are not left to stand outside on a hot summer day, as they are forced to do in Example 1. In addition, the restaurant is better able to manage their inside temperature because the doors are not open to outside due to the line.
  4. Because the lines are immediately in front of the registers, it is easy for an employee to speak to someone normally and say ‘May I take your order?’ instead of having multiple employees shout toward Door 1 “I can take the next customer! I can take the next customer!” This eliminates the waiting caused by the person who has decided to text instead of order lunch.
  5. Even if there is someone who essentially refuses to order, all customers in other lines continue moving and do not feel they are cutting the line by ordering at another register. So if Customer 2 at Register 2 is unaware it is their turn, it only affects Customers 7 and 11 behind them. In Example 1, it would bottleneck every customer and every register until they have stepped to a register.

Does this seem obvious to you? If so, congratulations! You are an elite member of our American society. If the above examples perplex you, please study them as long as needed until you are able to enter a fast food restaurant and order without becoming angry at those who already understand these concepts.

**Extra credit to those who are able to apply these principles to other scenarios, such as a busy men’s restroom at a ballgame or other such environments. 

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Indiana, get it together. Kentucky is kicking our ass.

It pains me to write this. I have been brought up with a love of Indiana basketball that requires me to despise not only Kentucky Wildcats basketball, but the Commonwealth of Kentucky overall. I have been faithful to that requirement for a long time. Hell, it’s been easy most of the time. Lately though…

Kentucky

Kentucky has looked like a progressive paradise while Indiana looks like a political haven for rednecks and hillbillies. Kentucky looked at the Affordable Care Act (ACA), saw opportunities, and created a state exchange that works. They expanded Medicaid (the link is worth reading), ensuring more of their citizens would get health insurance. A federal judge in Kentucky ruled that the state must recognize gay marriages performed in states where they are legal. Then the attorney general decided not to appeal that ruling.

Yes, you read that correctly. Kentucky did all of those things. Just watch the KY Attorney General get emotional discussing his decision:

And what are we doing in Indiana? Reader, I’m ashamed to even tell you.

In Indiana, our lawmakers hitched up their britches, spit their tobaccy and shouted YEE-HAW a few times before  trying everything they could to get a same-sex marriage and civil union ban to the voters. They failed, thankfully. By the way, gay marriage is still illegal in the Hoosier state and some people won’t even sell gay couples a cake to celebrate their commitment to love each other, even though that commitment’s not legally binding!

We heard the ACA granted states the opportunities to devise their own solutions to increasing coverage of the poor and enrollment of our citizens. Instead of doing that, we sued to stop the ACA and failed. Then we sued to prevent our own residents from receiving subsidies and failed. At that point, we just lamented the ‘federal takeover’ and went with healthcare.gov while other states created their own solutions (ahem, like Kentucky).

We also refused to expand Medicaid. What does this mean? It means we’re paying to subsidize the states who aren’t in a pissing contest with President Obama and who accepted Medicaid expansion. It means that instead of our state’s tax dollars coming back to us to help give those Hoosiers living in poverty health insurance, we still pay the same amount but it goes to other states. Oh, and we still have to find a way to pay for health care for those who would have been covered by Medicaid expansion.

Read This: Medicaid Expansion: a case of the Kentucky ‘haves’ and the Indiana ‘have-nots’

In other news, the state legislature FINALLY passes a mass transit bill and Governor Pence isn’t sure he wants to sign it. Four state legislators are considering legal action because Ball State University is prohibiting a professor from teaching Intelligent Design theory in a SCIENCE class.

Look, no one loves the Hoosier state more than I do. I love this state and I especially love Indianapolis. But we can do better. I never thought I’d say I envy Kentucky but they are upholding the dignity of their citizens while our lawmakers seek to institutionalize discrimination. They are finding ways to help their vulnerable populations while we are dragged kicking and screaming to the children’s table for those who won’t participate in the process.

Get it together, Indiana.

TL;DR: Kentucky is expanding Medicaid, recognizing same-sex marriages, and making the ACA work. Indiana is… not. Let’s leave it at that.