The older I get, the more I realize that, like fossil fuels, my time on this planet is not a renewable resource and this particular fossil is getting tired of people thinking that I’m perfectly willing to squander it.
Everywhere I turn, I run into situations where I’m expected to cool-my-heels in contentment, while I wait on other folks whose time is, apparently, much more valuable than mine.
By my calculations, my doctor gets a cool $13 a minute for her valuable time. On the other hand, all I get for investing a half-hour of mine, just to share in that $13-minute, is hot-under-the collar. No wonder she’s been pushing the blood pressure medication of late.
My auto mechanic won’t talk to me for under $10 per minute. And when he does, it’s in code. “Your do-hickey is converging on the rama-lama-ding-dong and that’s why the ‘check-engine’ light won’t shut off." Translation: “This is going to cost you a bundle.”
Even that convenience store clerk, who’s hardly getting by on $10/hr, is doing better than me. A 16-cent minute of his/her time still trumps the big fat zero that comes my way, while I wait for him/her to bag my purchase, as they carry on a cell-phone conversation with their "BFF."
My favorite fast food establishment isn’t. Not when I have to slowly repeat my order five times, in a vain attempt to avoid a meal of three small fries but no burger. And forgotten condiments mean a second trip from the car to the counter just to get a packet of ketchup served up with a complimentary order of attitude.
But, don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I expect red-carpet treatment wherever I go or that I think so much of myself that I can’t understand why I’m not 100 percent of anyone’s focus at any given time. As the Rolling Stones so aptly put it: “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” and I do get it … the point, I mean, if not the V.I.P. status.
What rankles me is that most people think it’s perfectly alright to rudely assume that I don’t have anything better to do with my time while they, most certainly, do.
That’s why I’ve taken to carrying a stop-watch and a healthy supply of rate-cards, which I give out to anyone silly enough to accept them.
I’m starting out small with an introductory rate of a mere 99-cents for every minute of my time that you cause me to fritter away. I think that’s reasonable, even in this economy. Oh, and Tuesday is two-for-one day, because generally I don’t do much then and because I like saying “Two-for-one-Tuesday."
It’s true that I probably won’t get rich with my new endeavor, but it may accomplish a few things. Firstly, it could actually eliminate the need for a co-payment, once I bill my doctor for time-wasted. And who knows, maybe my gas-gauge will actually rise above the half-way point once I bill my mechanic for the three times I had to bring the car in for the same problem.
But mostly, I hope, it’ll send a message to the world-at-large that my time has value, too.
And who knows, if all goes well, I could even earn enough for a down payment on something nice for myself, like ... I don't know ... a time-share?