Things to do while waiting in line for an hour for ice cream

There's a tradition in Canada of waiting until the hottest day of summer to go get ice cream at that shop that has one person working and 500 customers.
(Shutterstock / Mickis-Fotowelt)

There's a tradition in Canada of waiting until the hottest day of summer to go get ice cream at that shop that has one person working and 500 customers. Since you'll be waiting a while, plan ahead to enjoy your time in line.

Avoid eye contact with everyone

Is anything more satisfying than being in close proximity to strangers and trying to avoid acknowledging they're real for as long as humanly possible?

Re-read that menu board

Nothing promotes literacy as much as desperation; this is why the magazines in every waiting room are utter garbage. It's just a social experiment to see how much you're willing to consume on a topic you not only don't care about, you may have never even realized existed. You can and will read the same words multiple times in an effort to maintain your tenuous grasp on sanity.

Lament the weather

People love hearing about the weather from other people while both are experiencing it firsthand in real time. Tell someone how hot it currently is and then listen as they agree about how hot it currently is, right where you both are.


Now's your opportunity. You'll never endure a longer moment in your life that allows you the time to decide between peanuts, almonds, or walnuts.  Incidentally, walnuts are the wrong choice.

Sweat race

You know that feeling when you become terribly, uncomfortably aware of a bead of sweat running straight down the centre of your back? How long until it reaches your waistline and gets absorbed by your pants? The race is on! See if you can't get it down there in record time without anyone else in line thinking you have the Jimmy legs or a desperate need to pee.

Lament the weather II  

Say, you talked about the weather to the person in front of you, but what about to the person behind you? Try some of these conversation starters:

Hot enough for ya?

This heat!

Looks like global warming finally kicked in!

I just got a second-degree burn from my own belt!

Anything but politics

This should go without saying, but never actually engage with a stranger on the topic of politics. Never engage with a friend on the topic of politics. Never engage with family on the topic of politics. Political discussion are meant to be held on the internet, from the safety of your home, where you can tell everyone else how wrong they are without having to listen to replies.

Be judgmental

You'll never be freer to look at someone you don't know and think "Nice shoes, guy wearing olive green and chartreuse New Balance" than you are right now with a seemingly endless supply of time on your hands and the threat of death by mid-day sun looming over you.  You don't have to say it out loud or anything, so you're not a bad person!

Get creative 

You brain is a wonderful machine and it's currently running about ten degrees hotter than is entirely healthy. But that means it's probably able to work faster and more efficiently, because that's how science works.  Use this opportunity to delve deep into your creative recesses and make something of the situation. Perhaps plot a film or a book! Is the guy in front of you secretly in love with the woman who spent 15 minutes deciding on a vanilla cone? Is that family of five with the toddler who keeps making eye contact with you despite the first rule actually alien pod people?

Have you considered a slurpee?

Maybe go get one of those instead. 7-11 has many refreshing flavours to choose from.

The Deadpool

No, not the comic book movie starring Canada's sweetheart Ryan Reynolds: the origin of the name, wherein you start giving odds on who's going to be first to die here. No matter how uncomfortable you are in this breezeless, scorched-Earth landscape, you know there's at least one other person who's already starting to blister. Pit Blister Face against Chest Sweats and The Hand Fanner to see who will be first to bow out.

Lament the weather III

Man, is it hot or what?!?

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About the Author

Ian Fortey is a columnist from and maybe the inventor of poutine, but maybe not.