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10 Time Wasters for the Endless Panda Express Line in Coffman

Here you are again. You’ve found yourself in line for the Panda Express in Coffman Memorial Union. The course of your life has led you to this moment where you’re waiting in line for bastardized Chinese cuisine with 30+ people. It’s high noon and you aren’t sure where each line starts and ends, but Panda’s is the longest. Your feet hurt, you’re bored, so here are some great time wasters to go through sequentially while you await your Panda:

10.) Try to reconnect with old friends:
When you’re settling in for a long wait, your mind starts to wander. Remember that one time you and your idiot high school buddies set the neighbor’s car on fire? God, you miss those guys and gals. Throw each of them a soon-to-be-ignored Facebook message, and in no time, you’ll be a step or two forward in the line and somehow both less lonely and lonelier.

9.) Momentarily consider another Coffman dining option:
The other lines are shorter and you’re getting hungry. You look at that weirdly puffy pizza, the Chick-fil-A, the Flavor of the Month booth, and you realize you’d be eating right now if you had just chosen one of those options. However, since you haven’t read up on the sunk cost fallacy, you’ve been in this line for too long to give up now and push it out of your mind.

8.) Improve your resume:
For the first time in your young life, there’s something more daunting than creating and improving your resume: waiting in this line for another half an hour with nothing to do. Or, God forbid, being in a position later in life where you must come back here for lunch. Terrified of these alternatives, take out your laptop, pound out a stellar resume, apply for four internships, and scoot forward a couple of times in the process.

7.) Calculate exactly how much money through tuition/board you’re wasting in line here:
Now that you have your computer open and you’re making minute progress through the line, a thought pops into your head: “Panda is expensive. Attending the U is expensive. How expensive is waiting in this line?” With your rudimentary knowledge of math and your wild approximations of tuition, financial aid, etc., you eventually work out that you’re spending possibly dozens of dollars sitting in a line.

6.) Get your finances in order:
Shocked by just how financially fucked you are from sitting in this line and attending this university, even the most tedious tasks become palatable. You roll up your sleeves and get your finances in order. You do your FAFSA, you work out your 401K, you invest your money with the most amoral and effective stockholder possible, and you’re almost halfway down the line when you’re satisfied that you’ll be able to retire at age thirty.

5.) Think about all that stuff you learned about cultural appropriation in your freshman seminar:
With money on the brain, you begin to wonder if you’re a slave of capitalism. If the people behind Panda Express are co-opting a foreign culture’s cuisine for their own monetary gain. Your professor from that one freshman seminar was smart and asked questions like that. Satisfied that you are also smart and ask such questions, you stop actually trying to answer them like a true 21st century intellectual.

4.) Create and perform an interpretive dance about your feelings:
Your legs are falling asleep, and your creative urges are going unsatisfied. Your soul aches to escape and sing of its torment in this awful line. You enforce a ten-foot radius around yourself, to the chagrin of your fellow line-goers, and your limbs explode with spastic movement and life. People around you are shocked and scared, but you don’t care. By the time you settle down, you feel much more spiritually fulfilled. You even get the added bonus of seeing your schizophrenic outburst go viral on YouTube.

3.) Play a session of Dungeons and Dragons:
Now in a creative fury, you decide to draft the nearest five line-goers into an impromptu DnD session. Doesn’t matter that you don’t know all the rules, doesn’t matter that you don’t have any miniatures or boards or character sheets. You throw a bunch of pennies on the ground to serve as all-purpose placeholders, tell Phil that he’s a gnomish barbarian, and for the next three hours you use that beautiful, childlike imagination to bore the hell out of college kids.

2.) Call your grandma:
Desperate to make that last push to the finish line and having alienated the rest of the people around you, you turn to the one fool-proof way to take up time: you call your grandmother. You’re a good person, and you like your grandma. Most importantly, you know that you get to hear about what all your third cousins are up to, who won Tuesday bingo night, and by the time she falls asleep, you’ll be ready to order. And so it goes. Thanks, Grandma.

1.) Tell yourself you won’t get the orange chicken like the rest of the world:
Finally, in view of the entrée options, your eyes immediately fixate on the orange chicken. That sweet, sugary-coated orange chicken. But watching at least 80% of the people in front of you ignore every other option and take pound after pound of it makes you wonder if you should try something else. You’re adventurous, you don’t follow the crowd. Get that weird shrimp stuff or the beef(?)! You can do it! We all believe in you! Go get ‘em, champ!

And then you get the orange chicken anyway. At least you tried.

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