Aucklanders apparently spend almost 80 hours a year stuck in traffic queues.

They spend time in other queues, too.

On Sunday afternoon my wife and I were at Villa Maria winery in Auckland, to see a band.

Driving down, we queued at Warkworth after a traffic incident on the northern motorway.


Read more: Why Northlanders should care about Auckland traffic jams

From Whangarei, we took nearly three hours to get to the CBD, also taking into account a quick stop at Kaiwaka for Northland's best almond croissants.

We then queued for 30 minutes waiting for the bus from the CBD to Villa Maria.

My favourite queue of the day though was at a "boutique" kebab caravan.

The food and drink set-up at Villa Maria is wonderful - nice food, nice wine, good beer and lovely surroundings.

But the kebab queue was something else.

I asked for an order number, intending to head to the drinks queue while my kebab was being cooked.

No number, "we just call them out". Odd. So I stayed.


Five minutes later the pleasant young lady called out "lamb kebab".

I stepped forward.

"No", she explained. "That's me telling them (she gestured to the back of the caravan) someone has ordered a lamb kebab".

What happened next was a spirited conversation, which included the phrase "free for all" (interestingly, her words, not mine) and some shrugging and looking away (not me).

Turned out there was another queue I had to stand in.

I got to the front after about 15 minutes, and asked a flustered-looking lady for my kebab.

She made it about 10 minutes later while I stood at the front, as kebabs were passed to people behind me.

Chicken. Mixed. No lamb.

They also made wedges. Multiple sets of hands would go in the air when the cook yelled "wedges, who ordered wedges?". Miraculously, no one started a fight. A group of about four people starting chanting "write stuff down, write stuff down".

I wanted to raise my hand for a bowl of wedges. People in the queue began to share stories, we became close.

The good-humoured hipster next to me had been waiting more than 30 minutes.

He had sent the caravan into a spin by asking for a falafel kebab minus sauce.

After 30 minutes or so, I had my kebab.

I ate it while queuing for drinks.

And re-told the story that evening as we waited in a queue on the bus, which moved about 50m in 30 minutes, piloted by the world's most patient bus driver.

We made jokes about rationing our water, which one of us would get eaten first.

Someone wrote "please help us" in the condensation on the bus's window.

On the motorway, a food caravan from the gig passed our bus.

It wasn't the kebab caravan, I don't think I could have stomached that.

Looking out the window, I couldn't help reflecting.

The band had played for about two hours.

I had spent about the same amount of time in queues that day.

There was one other point I couldn't help but observe.

Queue. It's sandwiched between R as in "Aaarggghhhh" and P, as in, "get me off this bus, I need to ..."