Americans spend roughly 37 billion hours each year waiting in line. The dominant cost of waiting is an emotional one: stress, boredom, that nagging sensation that one’s life is slipping away. The last thing we want to do with our dwindling leisure time is squander it in stasis. We’ll never eliminate lines altogether, but a better understanding of the psychology of waiting can help make those inevitable delays that inject themselves into our daily lives a touch more bearable. And when all else fails, bring a book.
Alex Stone, author of Fooling Houdini: Magicians, Mentalists, Math Geeks and the Hidden Powers of the Mind, writing for The New York Times explores the psychological challenges of waiting in line and the many creative solutions used to fool us into waiting.