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Life in The Last Minute

Sweet

Being Sucked in Until The Credits Roll 

How sweet is that moment when you get your last kid to bed and the last toy either cleaned up or kicked to the corner?  The great nightly sigh of relief that I sometimes feel should be accompanied by a roaring crowd or at least a steady golf clap for another one in the books, another job well done.  We love our kids but that nightly respite from activity is a calmness worth basking in.

Last night, after a long day at work with the kids down and the wife lost in her Kindle, I nestled into the friendly confines of my couch’s butt groove and took part in America’s true past time, channel surfing.  Flipping between the NBA playoffs and anything else that struck my fancy, I stumbled upon an old movie called U.S Marshals.  It is the kind of movie that is right in my wheelhouse of enjoyment and from the minute I heard Tommy Lee Jones say things like “zoom in on the man by the door” and “Ok, put it on the big screen and clean up the image”, I knew what I was doing with the next 45 minutes.  I never get to say stuff like “hold him on the line while we triangulate the cell tower and pinpoint his location”  in my line of work and getting to say that stuff is rad.

I enjoyed finishing the movie and thought about how awesome it is when you come across an old movie that you like.  When you catch it in the middle it doesn’t seem like such a time investment and the serendipitous nature of your discovery is rewarding.  There are some movies that I know  that no matter what point in the story it is in, I will be locked in until the credits.  My sure things are The Empire Strikes Back, You’ve Got Mail, and any action espionage flick that has a lot of courier font being typed up on the screen saying stuff like ” Langley, 15:00 hours.”  I have probably seen the last 10 minutes of You’ve Got Mail a hundred times.  I am waiting for the day my daughter asks “Why didn’t Kathleen Kelly just track Joe Fox’s IP address and then find him on Facebook or something?”  Wasn’t the innocent technology naiveté of the 90’s comfy?

There is no doubt about it, when you have a bit of free time and your channel flips to Luke landing in the Dagobah System, it is totally sweet.

Weak

Why Do Today What You Can Put Off Until The Excruciating Last Second? 

The Problem with letting myself get absorbed into the thrilling plot twists of a movie like “Sharktopus” is that more often than not, my free time is really just a byproduct of my own laziness and denial.  I have a tendency to push responsibility to the back burner sometimes in the name of enjoyment and gratification.

When I was a sophomore in high school, I once started a science fair project during third period of the day that it was due.  In college I would often pull all nighters or sometimes even decide I wanted to sleep and set my alarm for 3:30 in the morning to get up and start writing a paper that was due in 5 hours.  I guess some people base jump or rock climb, but for me, the most intense adrenaline boosts seem to come when a deadline is on the horizon and rapidly approaching.

I get that this isn’t the best way to operate and the longer you wait to complete a task increases the odds for failure.  I am not sure if I missed a page in the “being a grownup” handbook but the whole concept of getting something done early so you don’t have to stress about it has never really taken hold.  I can absolutely see the benefits of doing stuff early but I think that I have convinced myself that the stress and sometimes panic fuels me to create my best work.  (That sounds like even more of a cop-out now that I have written it.)

I need to improve in that area of my life and my first step is probably addressing my general organizational skills which sadly, still look pretty much like the bottom of my tenth grade locker.

Writing this blog has been fun and I would love to continue by trying to think of more almost funny material or recycle old jokes that I haven’t put here yet but I have a huge proposal that I have known about for a month and it really needs to be finished by the close of business today.  Guess it is time to get started.  The last-minute may be exciting but waiting that long all of the time is totally weak.

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About Simon

I am a husband and a dad of two little girls. I am a lone Y chromosome and am already planning my escape strategy to deal with the estrogen flood that is on its way. People say there is a lot of joy to be found in the simple things and I have found they can provide a healthy dose of anti-awesome as well. I am, in general, a pretty optimistic guy and needed a bit of a creative outlet; so here it is. Thanks for stopping by. View all posts by Simon

27 responses to “Life in The Last Minute

  • crystallince

    I love your “sweet / weak gimmick.” When I was in college, I used to wait to the last minute to write papers as well. It was really stressful and exhausting pulling those all nighters so one time I decided to plan and write a few papers ahead of time. I ended up getting the worst grades on those papers so I went back to my tried and true method of procrastination and enjoying life and excelling in college! 🙂 There’s something to it.

    • Simon

      I completely agree. The pressure of the situation fuels creativity. Thanks for the kind words and liking the format. Sometimes I feel a bit trapped by it but I think it helps the readability. Appreciate you reading.

  • The Guat

    I love night time movies after kids go to sleep too. Definitely sweeeeeeet. I love Tommy Lee Jones and his one-liners. I caught something on Netflix the other day that had me waiting until the credits something with Crowe … The Next Three Days, not a lot of one-liners but it’s still Crowe.

  • Michelle Gillies

    I’ve been looking at some paper work for over a week that has to be done by tomorrow. Of course, then I spot your blog in my email and procrastinate just a little longer. I am weak.

  • Andrew

    Let’s not forget ice bullets. Dammit I love U.S. Marshalls. So badass…

  • skippingstones

    You’re clearly not alone on the”last minute fuels creativity” thing! My dad and I are both like that, and I pulled many an all-nighter in college. Somehow, those were always my best papers. While I do still put off little things I don’t want to do at work, I generally like to be ahead of schedule there. At home it’s all procrastination, all the time.

  • cristycarringtonlewis

    I always thought that my procrastination – which evidenced itself as all-nighters during finals in law school – was actually indicative of the fact that I was managing my time quite successfully. Had I created my own outlines to study from instead of borrowing them from upper classmen (no, there was no rule against that whatsoever!) or wasted hours studying every single day when I managed to achieve honors level grades by cramming, just think of all the episodes of Friends and Seinfeld I would have missed. I don’t think I would have enjoyed law school much if I’d only listened to my favorite No Doubt or Smashing Pumpkins a few dozen times instead of hundreds of times – or spent less time driving by Krispy Kreme waiting for the “hot” sign to be turned on.

    BTW, your blog posts are not showing up in my reader. I receive emails about them, but that’s all. This has been an ongoing problem for me and others that I have reported to wordpress. You may want to check that all of your fave blogger’s posts are showing up in your reader because they clearly haven’t fix the real glitch which keeps causing this problem. You may be missing out on a lot of hits as a result. I will be sending another email to wordpress about this issue and I encourage you to do the same. Please be specific. Let them know that I did not receive this particular post in my reader and let them know which posts you aren’t receiving. It will same you some time. Thanks!

    • Simon

      Cristy, you totally get me. I have been proving that my procrastination was actually a superior time management skill for years.

      Now that you mention it, I didn’t see Stacy’s last post and I don’t see yours right now. Grrrr. I will fire off an email as well.

  • Angie Z.

    I’m ever so slightly freaked because I just got to the end of your blog and there’s an advertisement for The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, CO — which was the inspiration for the movie The Shining, which I toured and blogged about last week. I nearly blanked out what I just read now because I was so freaked out.

    Speaking of freaked out, I do my best work in a panic. I think if I could pay someone to place tight, arbitrary deadlines on my blog posts, I’d be turning out some of my best work yet.

    • Simon

      That is nuts Angie, what are the odds? I don’t know what it is but I totally agree, the last minute just kind of fuels you to get it done. I hope you don’t have redrum nightmares tonight.

  • Paige Sitwell

    I’m such a horrible procrastinator. I don’t know what it is but there is something strangely satisfying about it.

  • becca3416

    Did I ever tell you I love the way you designed your blog. The sweet and weak thing is catchy and you always tie the two in together nicely. Plus you write good and junk. Anyway, I am such a sucker for You’ve Got Mail and anything with Tom Hanks really (Sleepless in Seattle!). I can never pass up watching the movie Ghost or Dirty Dancing either.

    I too am a major procrastinator. In fact, I’ll just finish this comment later.

    • Simon

      haha, thanks Becca I really appreciate it. I have been trying to tie the sweet and weak together a bit better than when I first started. I had a friend suggest that it might improve the readability and took her great advice. It seems like You’ve Got Mail is on TV at least twice a month. Which is awesome. thanks very much for your kind words.

  • Brigitte

    Love Tommy Lee Jones in Men in Black and all those movies where he’s running around with that lined, hugely expressive face of his and “You’ve Got Mail,” me being female I noticed her cool apartment and have always wanted to own a coffee shop that has books, an aromatherapy room and dog-friendly and kid-friendly rooms. But wine served as well and have car service to drive people home that can’t after drinking said wine. How did I get off-track?

    Hubby and I are avid movie watchers and don’t have the interruptions that you and your wife do (unless you count furry ones), but the whole thing of putting things off to the last minute — I am there. I’m doing it right now.

    Great post as always, Simon.

    • Simon

      Thanks Brigitte, I like your bookstore, coffee shop, dog park, wine bar, etc. idea. I love Meg Ryan’s apartment in that movie too, I don’t know why but I will always have a soft spot for her character.

  • Lisa Smith Molinari

    After seeing bits and pieces of St Elmo’s Fire over the years, I finally found it in its entirety while channel surfing the other night. WOW – what a train wreck those characters were! And I won’t even comment on the bad hair and clothing. What was up with Rob Lowe tucking his stone-washed jeans into red socks? And please, does anyone really believe that he would ever be attracted to the big frumpy one who was dressed like she was a polygamist sister-wife with a Dorothy Hamill bob and mauve knit tights? And about procrastination – it is like you had drilled a hole into my brain and sucked out my exact thoughts. However, I do not sit around and relax, I do OTHER work that doesn’t need to be done until whatever deadline I have is completely unavoidable. What’s that all about?

    • Simon

      Lisa, I do the same stuff, working on some project that doesn’t need to be worked on but seems more fun or interesting. I think I am still in the bits and pieces stage of St. Elmo’s fire but I totally knew who you were talking about when you said ” polygamist sister-wife with a Dorothy Hamill bob and mauve knit tights” that is hysterical.

  • Mandy

    I love your blog! Totally with you on this post, I always leave everything until the last minute and love watching the ends of old movies although my choices would be a bit more girly, Stardust and Staying Alive recently.
    Last night though we watched Safe House, if you haven’t seen it you should its right up your street. Finish your proposal first though!

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