here is the story: a person went to had himself a hair cut, his phone rang , then he went out,now he has come back and saw many people sitting on the chair waiting for hair cut.
then he complained to the hair stylist said " i was first" .
question: why can't he said " i am first " instead of " i was first"
what is " i was first mean? " (i was here first before the others came ? )
"I was first" means that he was first in line or in the queue before he went out, and now believes he should retain his priority. I understand "I am first" as being more assertive - almost a challenge to the others.
It means "I was first in line, he was second, etc. (but now the order has changed)." In a more assertive, present-tense voice I would say, "I am next," or "It is my turn." Quite often, in spoken English, the past tense or passive voice is used for politeness.