From the nonfederal world of metropolitan Washington arose a collective sigh of resignation yesterday as the government shut down briefly in a pro forma show of empty pockets.

The butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker; the doctor, the lawyer, the Indian chief voiced opinions from irritation to puzzlement over what one called "a regular game in Washington."

"It's a pork barrel," said William Glasgow Jr., 36, a butcher with Union Meat Co. in the Eastern Market on Capitol Hill. "Congress should stop putting all their personal stuff on these funding bills. It's silly. It happens every year."

"This has become a regular game in Washington" said Molly Peter, 30, who bakes David's Cookies on Connecticut Avenue. "It's starting to lose its shock value, and that's a shame."

Carol Blizzard, 30, of the J. Milton Baker Co. of Rockville, which sells candle making supplies, said she thought the whole procedure "ridiculous" and "a big waste of time and money."

The doctor, Benning Road dermatologist Peter Green, 31, said he thought it "terrible to manipulate federal employes like that . . . because Congress keeps tagging things on these necessary pieces of legislation. A pay bill should be a pay bill, and that should be that."

Jacolyn Simmons, an attorney with Newman and Holtzinger, shrugged off the budget impasse: "It happens every year, and every year it resolves itself."

But not everyone was so sanguine. To Gupta Brij , 57, chief manager of the Star of India restaurant on Connecticut Avenue, the whole dispute remained one of those unfathomable mysteries of American politics and culture.

"I do not know what to think," he said. "It is not the first time this has happened, but what will happen now is very difficult to say. For those of us who are outsiders, you see, all this is very hard to follow."