Time is money. There’s no time like the present. Time waits for no one. Time after time.
Our lives as human beings are marked and measured by time. There is no end to maxims about time.
Around the world, on January 1st, everyone celebrated starting a new year, a chance for a mega-reset. Some things picked up where they left off, and other things went in new directions.
Just before the new year, many of us placed conscious attention on TIME.
On December 30th, I started the process of renewing my expired passport, an action that is aligned with something I want in 2023. I want to travel again.
On December 31st, I stopped at the Chakra Shoppe to buy some incense. I wanted to clear a space in my home for meditating, an activity which I hope will occupy more of my time next year.
The small store is only a couple miles from where I live. They sell crystals and greetings cards and provide small rooms for Reiki practitioners. They hold classes on astrology and celebrate new moons with different programs.
The general vibe is that nothing has changed since 1970, including the block where it is situated. Although there is a paybox down the street, I pulled up right in front, next to an actual parking meter. A rendering of Abraham Lincoln was painted on its face.
I found myself getting very nostalgic about parking meters. I thought about missing money, missing currency, as a cultural symbol for transactions — and I thought a lot about time.
A reel of childhood memories flashed in front of me. I remember shopping with my mom on a rare trip to the city to buy lox ‘n bagels, long before Trader Joe’s stocked an assortment. I remember her spending longer than expected at Kaufman’s Bagel Bakery and Ida’s Deli and handing me a few pennies to “feed the meter.”
The meter seemed to live on nickels but digested pennies fine, too. The idea of the meter needing to be fed made sense to my ten year-old mind. I liked that you could use coins as small as a penny. I liked the thought of just buying the amount of time you needed.
I even liked the sound the lever made after you inserted your coin and turned the crank, which confirmed that your money was received. You didn’t need to have a receipt texted to you.
Everything involved in the transaction promoted being conscious. Signs about hours metered parking was enforced were cleared displayed on the street. Pennies or nickels were added according to how long you expected to park your car in the spot.
You felt compelled to finish your business according to plan because needing more time required another trip to “feed the meter.”
I smiled when I looked at this parking meter, a relic from the past. For various reasons, the world seems to be getting rid of money; coins and paper currency. It’s expensive to make. It’s easily lost or stolen. I understand there are various reasons.
But I appreciate money as something of value that you can hold; whether you find a coin or bill at the bottom of your purse, spinning around too long in a jean pocket in your dryer or noticed at your feet on a sidewalk when you happen to look down.
In sharing a moment with this parking meter, sporting the face of my friend, Abe, I felt grateful for having grown up when kids played with toy cash registers and saved money in piggy banks, when consciousness was as important as convenience.
I know there are tools to help us keep track of subscriptions we pay for every month that we’ve forgotten about and there is an upside to navigating through all sorts of situations with your smart phone alone. Still, we’ve given up a lot.
Many people don’t seem to pay attention to things in their daily life any more. We’ve contracted so much disciplined awareness out.
I suppose keeping Lovely Rita Meter Maid in work sounds more charming than supporting Peter PayBox Policeman, but my feelings about using currency comes from a deeper place.
Reaching into your pocket and pulling out something which bears the words, “In God We Trust” is no small thing.