Imagine that you arrive at the deli on a busy Saturday morning. The place is crowded because lots of people want some yummy corned beef or honey roasted turkey. This deli is very popular because they're known for offering wonderful food and for efficient service. You see the sign on the counter. It says, "take a number."
So you take one. Your number is 8/10/06. The signs says "now serving 9/27/05." What does that mean for me? You approach the person at the counter who's holding a ticket saying 9/27. "How long did you wait?" He says "Fifteen and a half minutes. But the person who held 9/1 only waited fourteen and a half minutes. So the wait is getting longer."
But you want corned beef. You have a taste for it, have been craving it, really want it. So you sit down to wait. You look around the room. It's very crowded. Some people are waiting patiently. Some are extremely agitated. Some are so annoyed by the wait that they leave for the deli accross the street. Maybe that will make the wait shorter. Who knows? At least you have a number and a place in line.
You decide to make the best of the wait. You introduce yourself to others who are waiting. There are lots of nice people to talk to while you wait. Before you know it, they're calling your number. And the corned beef is so worth it.