Oh, For the Gift of Time

The clouds move sloooowly

The bunnies scamper so fast.

Both care-less of time.

            I remember when the coffee shop where I worked introduced those cute cards customers could use instead of money.  I learned how to activate, add funds and deduct the cost of purchases.


            All of us, employees and patrons, were constantly scurrying about, needing to save movements and moments in days that were crammed with too much to do.  Even leisure had the pressure of stuffing as much fun and relaxation as possible into these rare occasions.

            It was exhausting.

            “Good morning, what can I get you?”

            “A large nonfat vanilla latte and a cherry scone,” handing me the card.

            “I’m sorry, you’re two dollars short.  Would you like to reload?”

            “Sure.”  Audible groans from the ever-expanding line of people in a hurry behind her.

            Now, the woman becomes nervous, fumbling in her purse, looking for her wallet or an errant credit card or loose change, anything to stop those groans and sighs of impatience becoming more distinct in the lobby.  Finally, credit card in hand, her purchase paid for and an extravagant fifty dollars put back on the card to forestall what seems to be a massive inconvenience to one and all.

            The rest of the morning is filled with regulars—both people and drinks—and my mind has a little crevice of free space.  I fill it with this question.

            What if you could recharge your handy loyalty card with both money AND time?

            “I’d like a mocha with extra whipped cream,” then a glance at their watch, “and a half hour, no make that an extra forty-five minutes.  It’s my turn to take the kids to soccer.”


            “Could you check my balance?  Oh dear, is that all?  Give me five minutes and another shot of espresso.  I’ll just have to move faster.”


            “My mother has worked hard all her life.  I’ll get this birthday card, and set it for a monthly reload.  I’d like to give her the gift of time.  She’ll be thrilled!”

            I’m shaken out of this pleasant reverie when the manager, somewhat panicking, says, “Alice, we’re out of sugar, napkins and half and half on the condiment bar!  Can you get that done before you clock out?”

            Probably not, I’d like to say, but I’ll do my best to make every minute count.


  1. Christina Pietsch · · Reply

    Glad to read something by you yet again! Great premise! Who can’t use more time especially after the year we just lost. Please keep writing!!

  2. Jerry Antosh · · Reply

    Alice, your reveries always strike a chord — those singular moments in time that resonate with us all continue finding their way into your writings. Bravo!

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