If you look closely you will see that the world is full of these things: treasures written on scraps of paper, second guesses, birthday cake, standing in line, girls thinking about boys, the ocean, stubbornness, coffee beans and waiting for summer, soccer games, highways. The world is full of people trying to get to work on time.
And now for the unfortunate tale of the Time Collector: There was a man who was the best Time Collector there ever was. He walked briskly past any street musician, and he avoided the opera and the ballet. He never spent time in museums or on long lunches or on phone calls to his mother. To his family in the North who would invite him to dinners and weekends at their little cottage by the lake, he would easily turn them down, saying, "I have no time for that! If I spend my time up there, I will have saved no time for later!" To the lover inviting him to Spain and into her heart and soul and offering her whole future, he said, "No Lover, not now, there is too much time to catch up with. Later, when we have all the time in the world."
One day the man fell very ill. His back was stiff and his head was woozy and his throat was closing. His chest felt tight and heavy and his heart was ticking very slowly. "No fear," he told himself, "I will just spend the time I have saved up to buy myself more time. There is still so much to do!" He reached his wobbly arm toward the telephone, and in a strained voice, called the bank and requested a large withdrawal. The teller hesitated, and after a moment, said, "I'm sorry sir, but there is no extra time left. Only the days in front of you."
The man let the phone roll out of his hands. He called out his family by name, and the name of his love. He had banked so much of his time for later that he had no time left to spend. He thought of his family and he thought of his friends and all of the people who had taken the time to enjoy whatever each individual day held. It was right then and there at the end of his life that he came to see: no matter how much time you save, all that is left is the time that you've spent.