Holy cow, I wrote a book!
Even ten minutes after my conference talk was scheduled to begin,
people were still wandering into the hall.
My host explained that in Portugal,
nothing starts on time.
(This Web site goes so far as to say that arriving a half hour
to 45 minutes late is customary.)
I asked whether the Portuguese form orderly lines
when waiting for things.
The answer: No.
They just form a crowd.
One would expect that punctuality and waiting in orderly lines would
be correlated traits in a culture, since they both reflect a degree
of attention to detail and order,
but there are exceptions.
In Taiwan, people form very orderly lines.
For example, lanes are painted on subway platforms for people to
stand in, and everybody waits their turn in line to get on.
On the other hand, punctuality is not a Taiwanese trademark.
In the United States,
waiting in line is taken for granted,
but that doesn't always align with punctuality.
It is important to be on time for business meetings,
but the rules for social gatherings are more complex.
Is there a correlation between punctuality
and waiting in line in your country?