The 24 Store: A Comment On Time
Written 1972

by Jeanne Belovitch

Around the corner from my apartment is the 24 store - a store opened for twenty-four hours. I usually stop in daily to pickup food for my English Setter or other items I don't really need.

I often wonder why I don't just by enough dog food to last the week or even walk another 100 yards to the Star Market where everything is cheaper. I've decided it's the character of the store that keeps me coming back on a daily basis.

The 24 store is small, specializes in food, and displays in its window handcarved chess sets, oriental water pipes, sensuously shaped candles and other articles appealing to a world altogether different from that of food.

However, a step through the door presents a rectangular-shaped market, a bit too narrow for comfortable grocery shopping and not all that spectacular for offering a variety of products. You won't find peanut oil here nor any brand of soup other than Campbell's. But, if you do run out of toilet paper, you can be sure to find it at the 24 store any time during the next 175,200 hours, which brings me to why I wrote this.

The other night, Sunday to be exact, while I was purchasing dog food, Ken-L-Ration to be even more exact, a man walked into the store and asked the fellow behind the register whether the store closed. The girl standing next to him, bagging the goods, perked up triumphantly, "We never close," while the fellow offered the information that started the wheels turning, "We're opened twenty-four hours a day and the owner just signed a lease which expires in 1992." Singing a twenty-year lease is one thing but when the nature of a business automatically turns those years into hours, it's somethng to think about, not only in terms of the 24 store.

If one at twenty sits back to glimpse into the future, he can probably road-map a fairly accurate next twenty years... in most cases there will be marriage, a family, job advancement, planning for the children's education, taking trips...the usually "stuff" and the usually "anxieties" one's mind conjures up when thinking years. But, if the same twenty-year-old sits back with 175,000 hours in front of him, the only thing to do with them is start "livin'em" and all those other "things" will just probably happen.

Very rarely is time on our side; but when life is looked at in hours, not years, the future strangely seems to come closer to the present, giving us more time.