四、Waiting in Line
The British queue up and the Americans wait in line, except for New Yorkers, who wait on line. No one seems to know the reason for this local idiom. It is something to ponder while waiting in/on line.
Another thing to ponder: It is estimated that Americans spednd up to five years of their lives in that tedious, weary but unavoidable process known as waiting. Studies show that otherwise rational people act irrationally when forced to stand in line or wait in crowds, even becoming violent.
Queues are a grim reality of city life. While there seems to be no consensus onthe city's worst line, the ones mentioned most often in talks here and there were lunchtime lines at banks and post offices and, among younger people, movie lines and college-registration lines.
Bank lines, said Mark Sloane, an investor. No matter what time of day you bank, the number of tellers is inadequate to the number of patrons. Even when the bank is open you see long lines infront of the money machines outside.
Supermarkets, said Ed Frantz, a graphic artist, who once abandoned a full shopping cart in the middle of a long checkout line. It was not a political act. The line was filled with coupon clippers and check writers, he recalled. And suddenly I had to walk away. Food no longer mattered.
In any line the fundamental rule is first come, first served, or what dsocial scientists call distributive justice. Exceptions may be made, say, in fancy restaurants where the headwaiters have their favorites, but, in general, the rule prevails.
If misery loves company, so do sports fans. Dr. Leon Mann documented this several years ago when, as a Harvard professor, he studied the long overnight queues for tickets to ball games in his native Australia.
Outside the stadium something of a carnival atmosphere prevails, he wrote in The American Journal of Sociology. The devotees sing, sip warm drinks, play cards and huddle together.
Like the teams they had come to watch, the fans in line took timeouts. Some worked in shifts, with certain members leaving to take naps or eat meals, while others saved their places in line. Some staked claims in line with items of personal property such as sleeping bags and folding chairs. During the early hours of waiting, Dr. Mann noted, the queues often consisted of one part people to two parts inanimate objects.
Nobody has ever seriously studied Helen Quinn's Saturday morning line for Metropolitan Opera tickets, but perhaps someone should ——Miss Quinn is not an official at the Met.
For 15 years standees at the opera have been doing just that, thanks to Miss Quin's ticketing system. She makes, dates and numbers her tickets—— one for each of the 175 standing room spots available—— and dispenses them to early birds. Assured of a place, ticket holders then leave and return shortly before 8 A.M. to line up for the real tickets.
idiom n. 1.习语，成语 2.风格，特色
ponder v. 思索，考虑，沉思
contemplate vt. 1.盘算，计议 2.思量，周密考虑 3.注视，凝视
weary a. 1.疲劳的，疲倦的 2.使疲劳的，令人厌倦的 vi.厌倦的，不耐烦
grim a. 1.讨厌的，糟糕的 2.严厉的 3.严酷的，无情的
consensus n. [单]（意见等）一致，一致同意
patron n. 1.资助人，赞助人 2.老主顾，顾客
resent vt. 对……表示忿恨，怨恨
graphic a. 1.生动的，形象的 2.绘画的，文字的，图表的
coupon n. 1.礼券，优惠券 2.配券，票证
clip n. 1.夹子，回形针，别针 2.弹夹，弹仓 3.剪，修剪 4.剪报，电影片断 vt.（clipped；clipping） 1.夹住，扣住 2.剪，修剪 3.削减，缩短
clamp n.夹头，夹具，夹钳 vt.（用夹具等）夹紧，固定
prevail vi. 1.流行，盛行 2.获胜，占优势 3.说明，劝说，诱使
misery n. 1.痛苦，苦恼，苦难 2.悲惨的境遇，贫苦
carnival n. 1.表演会 2.庆祝，欢宴 3.狂欢节
feast n. 1.盛宴，筵席 2.节日
sociology n. 社会学
sip v.（sipped，sippig）小口地喝，抿，呷 n. 小口喝
huddle vi. 1.聚集在一起 2.把身子蜷成一团 vt.使聚集在一起 n.挤在一起的人，一堆杂乱的东西
inanimate a. 1.无生命的，非动物的 2.无生气的，单调的
dispense vt. 1.分配，分发 2.配（药），发（药） 3.实施，执行
disperse vi. 1.分散，散开 2.消散，消失 vt. 1.使分散，赶散 2.使消散，驱散