An unofficial legal tender.
Last Saturday, my friend and I arrived at The Showbox hours before the anticipated concert marked on our calendars for months now. Dodging what appeared to be an unrelated large crowd of tourists, our smiles slowly disappeared as we passed the entrance, walking to the end of an already emergent line of equally avid Coin lovers — so committed as to have waited approximately four to five hours prior. A personal anecdote in the city of Seattle would not be complete without its most iconic symbol: the rain. Just a few minutes peacefully settled amidst the succession of people, rain began to pour ruthlessly from the sky, having no effect on our progress or location. By then we had a full two hours ahead of huddled gathering under brief awnings, victims of the crashing water that just added to the displeasure of the mind-numbing waiting. I looked at my friend, who stood shrugging her shoulders, as we both knew our fate was spoken for.
Though it may seem like I have a deep distaste for lines, I have stood in my share of them. As an ex-Disneyland annual pass holder (eagerly awaiting my return date), 90 minute wait times for a few minutes of magical captivation was quite familiar to me. There was no bone in my body that would have ever denied a day in the park where all my dreams came true, but even so, admittedly, the act of waiting for something desirable does equate time with a certain price.
I have always entertained the idea that if there was someone out there, rejecting the homogenized belief that every second was of the highest value, I would be willing to negotiate and bargain their time for my own — especially when waiting for something trivial. While in actuality I don't think I could ever truly justify paying someone to wait in a line for me, I am well aware that for many individuals in the world a small sum of money is nothing compared to the preservation of fleeting moments.
With a brief search on the internet I found a multitude of apps that include "Placer" and "Skiplino," profiting on the genuine preference of some to avoid lines at all costs. These apps supposedly save the time of users, matching them with certified individuals, and facilitate conversation for bargained exchanges. I cannot even visually imagine the physical exchange of taking the place of a paid stranger in line, or that some day in the future the terms "jumper" and "placer" could be the actualized vernacular for legitimate roles that people occupy.
The whole business of monetizing an individual's time is shocking, but simultaneously makes sense when considering how each decision an individual makes is a product of mindful negotiation. While lines are just one activity that can dominate minutes or hours, it is interesting to consider what other aspects of life may soon be quantified by the precious, nonrenewable gift of time.