There is a scene in the 2004 remake of “Man On Fire” where the protagonist Creasy (Denzel Washington), while engaged a murderous spree of vengeance, is questioning a corrupt cop in Mexico. The cops’ name is Fuentes, and as part of a vigorous interrogation of the filthy scum, Creasy has ominously placed a five minute time-bomb in Senor Fuentes’ rectal region. Fuentes is furiously bargaining for his life, trying to bribe his way into salvation, when the following conversation takes place:
Fuentes: A last wish, please, please. Please.
Creasy: Last wish? I wish……. you had more time.
You can well imagine what happens next.
I love that movie.
But, it is more than just a great scene where the flawed hero exacts revenge on someone worthy – it’s a universal wish we all have, especially as we grow older and the time span between years shrinks. Right now, this very moment, I’m cramming in our little conversation here while waiting for The Heathens to return home; then it’s a quick buzz to the CrossFit torture palace, off to the firehouse to cover a shift for three hours, then home at 11pm, up at 4am, back to gym, then another shift cover (48 straight with firefighters makes for some ADD-addled moments) and back to my own fire station. All this before Friday. This is not a complaint, however. Life is good, sometimes better than that, and I’m grateful for all the positive aspects we can experience.
I just want to make those positive aspects last a little longer, take time to enjoy it all. Like a kid slowly pulling apart string cheese, as opposed to cramming it all down your throat, some things take time to be parsed, enjoyed, savored even. I like making a cup (or pot, or two pots) of coffee last two hours while shooting the breeze with a good friend. I enjoy the hassling that goes on between firemen after a union meeting, when we get a chance to flap our jaws with brothers from other stations. You can’t really buy that entertainment. When The Wife has a particularly engaging client down in the salon, I’ll happily idle away ridiculous amounts of time listening to their latest tales of woe and scandal.
Most would label this behavior “procrastination”. And by “most” I mean “my wife”. While this seems to make sense when you see the piles of work that need attention at our house, I might beg to differ. I enjoy these moments where we interact and bullshit and trade in on our mutually shared experiences. Yes, yes, we all have obligations like feeding our kids and not letting them become methamphetamine pushers, important little footnotes that we have as parents. I’m just hoping that we all get enough moments where the laughs come freely, the needs we have as social beasts are being met (with the exception of The Dirtbag and Bones, two people in my life who would enjoy most aspects of living in a cave) and we can just think “yeah, it’s all good.” Even in our darkest moments, none of us look to the dishes for consolation when a loved one is stricken with a disease – we turn to those we can embrace, those who support us, those we love. Those with whom we spend time.
Even a guy with a bomb up his ass knows this.