Torontonians spend 2009 standing in line
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Angrier than usual as 2009 draws to a close? Probably residual queue rage.
In the past year, Torontonians stood around waiting for H1N1 vaccines, faced garbage strike queues, lined up to buy condos, shuffled to buy TTC tokens and were subjected to the daily headache of the most loathed line of all - the traffic jam.
"If someone in suburbia commutes every day of his or her working life, it's not too difficult under reasonable assumptions to say that person spends one to two years in traffic queues," said Richard Larson, the director of the Center for Engineering Systems Fundamentals at MIT.
And all that waiting around can make a person miserable.
Queue rage is what happens in the absence of fair play: It elicits exaggerated sighs, rolled eyes and shouting matches.
"Doesn't that make people furious when you hear those athletes get (the vaccine)? That's line jumping in policy, even if you can't see a physical line," Larson said.
Larson, who is also known as Dr. Q, said new technologies like ATMs and the Internet have caused the line to die off a little.
But in Toronto, the line continues to thrive, enraging many and delighting only the masochists. Myron Hlynka, a queuing theorist at the University of Windsor, said 2009 was probably worse than other years.
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