Time Will Tell
by Charles Lee
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You wouldnít think five minutes could ruin my entire day. After all, what is five minutes out of the fourteen hundred and forty minutes that constitute a day? There are moments when I just blink and five minutes are gone. I chew up minutes like a four year old goes through a packet of bubble gum. I put four or five in my mouth and spit them out before getting the entire flavor from them. Then when they are used up, I wish I hadnít carelessly tossed them aside without squeezing out every drop of delicious goodness from them.
So, you can understand why the five minutes in question were very important to me. Oh, you canít? Well, these particular minutes held something that I deemed very essential. My peace of mind. Without my peace of mind, I have the tendency to give a piece of my mind and believe me, I donít have much up there to spare.
The five minutes that held my peace of mind were the ones right before I left to carry my daughter to school. These were the priceless minutes: the minutes that were more valuable than the finest of gold. But they were gone. I had treated them with disdain and mocked their quiet pleadings to grab hold of them and cherish them. Oh if I had just listened!
Because I stopped my ears to their urgings, I had to pay the ultimate price. Thatís right. I had to wait in traffic. Five minutes earlier and I could have zipped right on through the carpool line with rapid speed. Now I had to wait behind a line of other time mongers. Two cars were the maximum that could squeeze through the light each time the light changed. Forty changes of light later and I was on school property.
Frustration mounted and began its charge. Oh, it was slow in coming, but when it arrived, it was full force. Everyone and everything was out to make my life miserable. The crossing guard deliberately put up a neon yellow hand to make my progress even slower. Kids all dressed alike in their blue shirts and khaki shorts oozed over the crosswalk like sap dripping down the trunks of trees in the dead of winter. Even the big yellow school bus was in on the plan to make my life unhappy. Four hundred boys and girls exited the bus with the urgency of Ö well, kids exiting a bus and having to go to school. Doesnít anyone skip school anymore? Not on this day. Everyone was present and ahead of me.
As my daughter raced up the sidewalk, I became contemplative over the whole situation. A honk from some impatient parent behind me jolted me from my moment of reflection; so much so that my foot slipped off the clutch and stalled my truck. Boy, some people just arenít very considerate of others, and I told the guy just those very words! He was on the other side of town when I told him, but I told him just the same.
Back at home, I stopped to consider those precious minutes that I had lost. If I had started out with those minutes, my day surely would have been different. I might have even smiled at someone. I wouldnít have had to get all tensed up in traffic. The rude man in the carpool line wouldnít have gotten my tongue lashing. My daughter wouldnít have had to scurry down the sidewalk to make it to class. I hope she made it. Life sure would have been different.
Then I began to wonder if time was not at fault at all. After all, five minutes is the same whatever time slot it fills. Could it be that I was the problem? I hate it when my imperfections cause me to examine my imperfections.
Next time Iíll just have to leave five minutes earlier. If I donít, maybe this time Iíll realize that these five minutes deserve the same courtesy as the earlier ones. When I enter their corridors, maybe Iíll conduct myself in a way that shows how precious they really are.
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I enjoyed this humorous piece very much. You delivered it with great skill and without a lot of flowery phrases, saying just what you had to say to convey your meaning. This is an art in itself. The message is not really lost either. A stitch in time saves nine. I'm sure you'll try to leave home earlier, having learned your lesson.