The Crawl

My experience in the long line to pick up school supplies

Morgan Tate

We sit at the intersection of 67th and Pflumm — get up, grab my school supplies and head to drop off the PB&J sandwiches I made for church. 

We thought it would be quick.

But then we saw the line — running down both sides of 67th. I can’t see the end. My dad took a picture of it to send to the Newspaper teacher.

I try to make myself comfortable, moving positions in the back seat. I try to just focus on my book.

We then start the crawl — past the crowded intersection, the neat suburban housing and the football field enclosed by a chain-link fence. 

Finally, the parking lot. The back parking lot. It’s been an hour. I sit in the back, spreading myself across the seats. I snipe, “This is like Andy’s.” 

I put on my best impression of a fast-food employee “Welcome to Northwest, may I take your order?” 

I respond to myself, “I JUST WANT MY SCHOOL SUPPLIES!” 

My dad chuckles, also irritated at the winding line around the school, “Andy’s is better with lines than this.” 

I sigh, look at the window. That’s when I notice. 

No tents up towards the end. I glance over at my dad and squeak, “I don’t… I don’t think they’re passing out books there. I don’t see any tents.” 

I glance out the window. “Probably doing it up front.”

My dad’s eyes widen, “You must be joking!” 

I laugh at the irritation in my dad’s voice and try to ward off my own anger. Anger at the slow line. Anger at the increasingly make-me-vomit smell of peanut butter in the car. 

I check out — stare at the e-book on my phone. Then, at some point, find myself calling Alyssa Kempf, my fellow sophomore thespian, she’s behind us in the line. 

We continue the crawl. One hour, 15 minutes.

26 minutes later, we get up to the front parking lot. I want to smack something. We’ve been in line for 156 minutes. 156 MINUTES. That’s 9,360 SECONDS. It’s hot… and the teachers really aren’t helping.

It takes 11 more minutes to get my schedule and English books. All the teachers stop us, despite another teacher telling us exactly where we need to go. 

Finally, we’re through the line. But that doesn’t bring the expected relief — I’m just irritated, hungry. 

And everything still smells like peanut butter.