I have developed a scientific way of choosing the fastest line at the airport, grocery store, or DMV, which I will share here.
My tendency has always been to choose the shortest line. At airport immigration, I look for the line with only two people, and quickly pull my luggage into that line. Turns out, the first person in line has hidden in their luggage a birdcage containing an endangered species of bird. The person would argue with lengthy narratives about why smuggling the bird is justified, before eventually being handcuffed and taken into custody. Immigration is always in a windowless basement, so I am not able to watch the sun travel across the sky while the bird poacher haggles for leniency. The second person in line is usually someone seeking political asylum, so is asked to fill out forms while I wait. The forms contain numerous pages for writing essays about “why I should live in your country” and “how persecution led me here: my life story.” Two days later, my turn to have my passport stamped arrives. I need to be carefully studied, because apparently I resemble both (1) a certain Serbian military leader who is fugitive from The Hague War Crimes Tribunal, and (2) the #2 man in the Medellin Cartel. I probably resemble a lot of nefarious people after a 36-hour flight and a two-day wait in line. But I have so far been let into many countries. Eventually.
Here is the secret for choosing the fastest line: look for me, and choose the line I don’t choose (see photo on this blog’s bio section). Because I will choose lines with people who lose passports on the plane, people who try to pay for groceries with poker chips, and people who begin deciding what to buy only after arriving at the front of the line.
Keep watching, because I sometimes get impatient and switch lines, which causes my new line to become slower than the one I just left.
::: Be fierce. Be kind. Be knowledge-hungry. :::