The Art Of Line Waiting

Why are we standing here?

“What are you in line for?” It could be for a new phone, limited edition shoes, or maybe the new Avengers movie. When it comes to hobbies and collecting, everyone nerds out about something. The question is how long are you willing to wait? Hours or even days? There’s an art form to waiting in line. There's even a subculture.

When you think of a large group of fans waiting in line, your mind might drift to San Diego Comic-Con. The lines at Comic-Con are notoriously long. Over the last few years con-goers have even started sleeping outside in an attempt to be one of the first to enter the fabled Hall H. While people may complain about the long wait, some fans see it as a rite of passage, and part of the overall convention experience. I’ve even met families who have made line-camping a tradition.

Don’t forget the community aspect either. Rule number one is: don’t be a jerk.You will be spending a lot of time with those in your line. Make a friend! Or two. They obviously enjoy the same hobby as you. And talking is one of the best ways to kill time. I’ve become good friends with complete strangers just by chit chatting while in line. Plus, having a buddy to watch your spot for bathroom breaks is also really nice. Here’s a tip: bring a card game to play with your neighbors. Snacks and bottles of water are also survival essentials. Also, please wear deodorant. Your linemates will thank you.

What about line waiting at movie theaters? The days of line camping for a midnight release have seemingly passed as cinemas now show earlier screenings for most blockbusters. While the movie-watching is the same, the “experience” of waiting in line with your friends has been streamlined. Some cinemas have even banned costumes and line camping due to safety concerns.

In the world of hobbies and collectibles that is not the case. With the rise of eBay and “flippers” it’s a race to be first in line. Mondo fans will be familiar with a lengthy line wait. The first gallery show I attended had me waiting in the Texas sun for four hours. And that was fast by normal standards! The upcoming Mondo House Party show (3/16) had people lining up two weeks in advance last year. This go-around, the gallery has asked that fans wait until the 12th to line up. Why do people line up so early to buy toys, pins, and posters?

Fans like me will tell you because it’s fun. And it makes you a part of a community of like-minded members. Who else is crazy enough to sleep on the streets of Austin, but your fellow Mondo Traders? You just need a camping chair and a good attitude to join! Nerd tailgating at it’s finest.

Maybe in the future, line-waiting for conventions and art shows will also change or even disappear. Hopefully, that's not the case. My dad remembers waiting in line to see Star Wars: A New Hope. I remember lining up outside of a Barnes and Noble, waiting for the release of the newest Harry Potter novel. For many, lines are an inconvenience. For fans like us, the wait is worth it.