We don’t spend much time on this Earth. I know that it may seem like an interminable period of misery and pain for some people, a few of whom are singing “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” right now and hoping God would just put them out of their misery and bring them home now, but in the grand scheme, it doesn’t mean much to God. He’s got eternity on the other side.
Our lives here are a speck and He knows it and we should too. But, the fact is, time does mean a lot to us here on Earth.
For those who don’t believe there is an afterlife, for those who aren’t sure, for those who don’t really know if it’s better, well, they have a lot of concern about how their time on Earth is spent.
Even for those of us with either a pretty firm or rock-solid faith that there is a hereafter and that it’s going to be way better (assuming you pick the winning side of the spiritual war…nudge, nudge), time is still important. We may know that we have something better waiting, but that doesn’t mean we want to spend our days in physical or emotional pain, wasting our time, or anything else. We have families and friends who want our time, we want our personal time, and so on.
Yet in this world, there are plenty of people who not only want to waste our time but who insist on doing so, actually do it pretty effectively—and in many cases claim it is their inalienable right to use our time as they wish.
They are thieves.
They are stealing precious time from us and in many cases, this shit needs to stop.
Now, as you can tell, even though I’ve sprinkled some religious talk in here already, this post is going to be a rant. I’m not going to tell you exactly what sparked this rant. Suffice to say that people who are in the know in my life and who read this blog will probably figure out what set me off. If you want something strictly and completely spiritual, scroll down the main page of this blog to see if you missed anything this week, or just check out the post immediately below this one (Cycle of Trees), which offers a heartfelt spiritual message laden with meaning and wisdom—I hope.
So, back to time-stealing dingleberries in our lives.
Time thieves abound in life. Here are a few examples, some of which may be drawn from my life and one of which might even hint at what set me off today.
- You are an employer or a supervisor and you believe that because the people under you are paid salaries, you are entitled to their time whenever you feel you need it. You don’t pay them hourly, you aren’t required to give them overtime, and you might not even give them comp time for when you keep them late or have them work weekends. Yet you think you own them. You think you can dictate to them whether or not their family time is important enough that they should be able to partake of it. You cancel vacation days and time off and weekends because your higher-up is saying that there is work that trumps everything else. If you are one of these people, you should be ashamed, and doubly so if you are in the United States. Americans work more hours than most folks in the developed world and use less vacation and sick time. We’re killing ourselves slowly and making a misery of our lives for our companies, and we can’t even get decent health insurance from them anymore. Sickening.
- You are a person who is single, and who gets snarly when a married co-worker with kids (or an unmarried one with kids, for that matter) comes in a little early to leave a bit early for a soccer game or something. You get mad if your supervisor gives them more opportunities to try to make up time or shift around hours because they have daycare hours to contend with or activities to attend or just want to see their kids and give them some love. If you are getting mad and thinking this person is getting a special deal or a free ride, get over your damn self. When you are married, you will see how much damn work it is to keep a relationship like that healthy. When you have kids, you will find out how hard it is to juggle family and work time. When you are no longer single and/or child-free, you will know how glorious family time is and how important it is, and if you have a shred of decency, you will feel bad for talking shit about your family-minded co-workers once you have a personal taste of what they had to give up to work 90% of the workday and you will find yourself wondering why you have to beg to leave a few minutes early to see your kid’s play or celebrate your spouse’s birthday. Do us all a favor and stop bitching now so you won’t have to feel guilty later. And don’t do what some of your fellow single folks might do and backstab and undermine those married and child-rearing co-workers because you feel like they’re your enemies for wanting family time.
- You are the custodial parent of a child (or children), and your ex gets little enough time with the kid(s) already, even though he or she really wants to spend time with them. You do your best to steal away weekends and cut short summers. You suddenly announce events without any warning, knowing this will inconvenience both your ex and your children and destroy their plans, all because of things like selfishness, desire to hurt the other person, or whatever. Even if you still can’t see fit to treat your ex with decency, please do yourself and the children a favor and stop being so petty. You have most of the year with the child or children already. Cherish what you have instead of stealing what’s not yours.
- You are a lazy worker. You come in all sloppy to work and leave your co-workers to pick up your slack. You use trickery, lies, subterfuge and whatever else to make it look like you’re doing more than you are but you aren’t carrying the load that you could be. You don’t have a good reason for it; you just don’t care. It’s not that you don’t want to be worked to death but rather that you want to get your pay and do as little as possible while getting whatever you can for yourself, in terms of long lunches, time off, office supplies, etc. You are stealing your company’s time and probably other resources. You are stealing your co-workers’ time by making them do your work. You are a piece of crap and need to grow up and get some responsibility, or move into your parents’ basement and play video games all day.
- You are at the only drive-through ATM and doing all your freakin’ banking that you should have done during banking hours, while people pile up behind you and are now running late because you want to check your balance—twice, make a deposit (filling out the forms while at the ATM instead of having done them at home), check the balance of another account, withdraw money (and then count it out as slowly as possible), transfer some funds, and then check your balance again. Bonus points for asshole-ishness if the bank is actually still open and you just decided that you didn’t want to get out of your car, you lazy bastard.
- You are in the 10-items or less line at the store and have at least twice that number of items, possibly three times the amount or more. You decide to also quibble with the checker about prices and then have the gall to pay by check, writing out that sonuvabitch so slowly that we would all swear you have a neurological problem. But it turns out you’re just a time-wasting jerk who doesn’t want us to get home to our families.
OK, I feel better now having got that out of my system. To the person, organization, or other entity who sparked this rant, I forgive you, but please don’t let this crap happen again. I ain’t Jesus, and I have a lot of other pressures in life right now. And I feel like I am running out of cheeks to turn for folks.