“Fear of the journey will ensure you never reach the destination,” he said aloud to no one in particular. “You’re always spendin’ time, make sure you spend it wisely.”
Maybe he should take his own advice, I thought to myself.
I tried not to look at him. His hair was wild, unkempt and his nose had a bluish hue to it, as if he was suffering from frostbite. I hated him. He looked demonic. The red neon cross flickering above his head didn’t help. The mentally deranged seemed to gather at the doorsteps of prosperity. I worked for Cryptopress, a company that minted crypto currency into physical coins. Crytpopress’ headquarters was the newest and tallest skyscraper in San Francisco. The building jutted over 2,000 feet into the air. Cryptopress was visible as far north as Vallejo and as far south as San Jose if standing on an incline.
This man was always there, under the neon cross, preaching about the perils of time wasted. Which made sense, he looked to have extensive expertise on the subject of a wasted life. His filthy hair and dirty clothes made me sick. I hated him. I hated his face. His disgusting nose made me want to vomit. I wanted to vomit on him. I wanted him to know I saw him and I didn’t like what my eyes were forced to bear witness to. His weakness and and his time diatribes annoying everyone within earshot. He made me sick. Everyday I passed him. Years went by and he remained.
“The hourglass is always half full until it’s completely empty and then it’s too late,” he’d yell.
I’d rush past him to get back to my apartment. I’d sit in my apartment alone and think about him. I would sit alone in my apartment and eat my meal. I ate gourmet food. I microwaved it as it was sent to me prepackage from a meal prep company, but the food was high quality. I ate a lot of salmon. Salmon was good for you. Salmon extended your life. Omega fatty acids are essential for heart health. You don’t want to die young. You had things to do. I had work to do. I had to go to work. Which means I had to walk past him. Fucking monster. Time. He was always preaching about the perils of wasted time.
Thirty years. I had worked at Cryptopress for three decades and for all three of those decades I had walked by him. He was there every single day.
“Time is a finite resource. You’re always running out!”
I had had enough. Thirty years of his blabbering. I had to put an end to it.
“You,” I said. “Will you shut the fuck up?” His head turned toward me. We caught eyes.
“The hourglass is always half full until it’s empty, and my friend, yours is nearing empty.”
“What did you just say to me?” I began to walk toward him. His stench was awful. I grabbed him by his shirt collar and pulled him to his feet. I pushed him against the wall. The red neon light flicked in his eyes. The stench was too much. He smelled like death. It was all too much. I let him go. I began to cough. My throat felt like it was closing. I couldn’t stop coughing. I fell to my knees. Vomit bursted from my mouth onto the glittering concrete. I couldn’t breathe.
“Time is the true reserve currency. It’s the only thing accepted everywhere. We’re all born credit cards, but no one tells us our limit.”
“Shut the fuck up,” I blurted between coughs.
The man sat beside me as I struggled to breathe.
“When I first saw you, you were a young man,” he paused, “you had hope in your eyes, and relatively speaking, a lot of time left. But that was a long time ago.”
His eyes went black. I grabbed at his throat. But he pushed my hand away.
“I tried to warn you, but you didn’t listen. You ignored me, my warnings, just like they all do, and at the end, they confront me, and they scream at me and attack me, and I weep for them. I’ll weep for you, too.”