Customs: The Godot Game

It figures in no labor statistics, is the object of no time-motion studies, the subject of no sociological thesis. Nonetheless, taken in bulk, it probably consumes more hours out of more days —and is far more essential to survival—than any national pursuit but television. The name of the game: waiting.

Sometimes the result is worth the tedium (the birth of a baby), sometimes not (the refusal of a loan). Either way, there is no alternative method for meeting a plane or departing on one, getting a tooth removed, a passport renewed, or voting. Like any routine, waiting takes its own...

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