Skip to main content

"I'll be there in five minutes"

Some of my favorite parts in Sam Jones' documentary on Wilco, I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, involve Rolling Stone senior editor, David Fricke. In one particular clip, Fricke explains that we live in a culture where there are people standing out on a sidewalk talking on cell phones and the gist of their conversations are, "I'll be there in five minutes." Fricke's response to someone doing this is to quit standing around and "just be there in five minutes." Even though Fricke's statement was made on September 10th, 2001, his words still ring true in our post-9/11 world.

I'll admit it; I'm guilty of being impatient with people by calling their cell phones if they're late. I don't want to be hung out like a clown so since the technology is handy, I give in from time to time. The deal is, you can be a little too impatient with the kind of technology cell phones allow. If someone is five minutes late, I wait it out. If he/she is thirty minutes late, I give him/her a call. The funny thing is, I heard a "I'll be there in five minutes" conversation while I was in Chicago back in October.

I was walking down Randolph Street and passed by a guy filling up his truck with boxes. He's on a cell phone, walking around his truck and the only thing I heard him say was, "I'll be there in five minutes." He was in motion and sounded like he was gonna be there in five minutes, but I couldn't believe I had actually seen an almost exact recreation of Fricke's description. My father once told me about people he rode on the bus with that would call his or her spouse with a conversation about he or she would "be home in ten minutes." It's one thing to give people a heads-up on your ETA, but when it becomes this habitual timekiller, I think it's a statement about our technology-bound culture.

In the '80s and '90s, cell phones were things that mostly rich businessfolk had. The thought that you could carry a phone around with you wherever you went sounded cool, but it didn't seem like a necessity. Now that I'm hard pressed to find someone who doesn't have a cell phone, we can make calls whenever and wherever. While I love how I rarely miss a call and how I don't have to pay long distance to talk to friends and family, I try and catch myself before falling into the dark side of impatience. Is it really gonna matter if I take a call now, ten minutes from now or ten hours from now? Eventually a conversation will take place.

I understand that some calls can't wait, but isn't a part of multi-tasking doing something over saying something? I know time is precious, but if it's spent burning up cell phone minutes to state the course of action planned in the next ten minutes, should we really be wasting our time by talking about it?


Eric said…
Happy Thanksgiving! I also think that Fricke's commentary in IATTBYH is fantastic. In fact, I think the wife and I will (because of your post) watch it tonight. Thanks for the inspiration.
Eric Grubbs said…
Awesome. Hope you guys had a good turkey day.

Popular posts from this blog

I ain't got no crystal ball

I've never been a big fan of Sublime's reggae-punk-ska, but I feel bad for their hardcore fans. Billboard reports that a four-disc box set featuring previously released and unreleased material is on the way. How is this a bad thing? Well, the number of posthumous vault-raiding collections greatly outnumber the band's proper releases. That usually isn't a problem, but the quality of them is very suspect. When they were together, the band recorded three proper albums, Robbin' the Hood , 40 Oz. to Freedom and Sublime . Sublime would be the band's breakthrough record with the mainstream, but that success was very bittersweet. Shortly before its release, frontman/guitarist/songwriter Bradley Nowell died of a heroin overdose. In the following years, the effects of apparently a bad record deal have yielded compilation after compilation. Here's the rundown so far: Second Hand Smoke (1997) Stand By Your Van -- Sublime Live in Concert (1998) Sublime Acoustic: Br

It's a Long Way Down

There was a time when I listened to Ryan Adams' music practically all the time. Back in 2001, as I finished college and tried to navigate post-college life, the double dose of Whiskeytown’s Pneumonia and Adams’ Gold led me to everything else he had made before. It was countrified rock music that spoke to me in a deep way, mainly on the musical front. I don’t tend to really pay attention to lyrics, but I connected with Adams’ lyrics about being young and perpetually heartbroken. I thought some self-inflicted mental pain about awkward and failed attempts at relationships put me in the headspace to relate to songs by Adams, as well as Bright Eyes. There was so much time and energy spent on anger and sadness directed at myself for things not working out, so I found solace in songs like “Harder Now That It’s Over” and “The Rescue Blues.” As it turned out, there was a pattern in my life: if I had a little taste of a feeling of sadness or anger, I could relate to those who had it

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Catherine Wheel

Originally posted: Tuesday, August 29th, 2006 Despite managing to release five proper albums, Catherine Wheel was one of those bands that always seemed to slip past the mainstream rock crowd. Yes, they got some nice airplay in their day, but people seem to have forgotten about them. You may hear “Black Metallic” or “Waydown” on a “classic alternative” show on Sirius or XM or maybe even on terrestrial radio, but that’s about it. For me, they were one of most consistent rock bands of the ’90s, meandering through shoegazer, hard rock, space rock and pop rock, all while eluding mainstream pigeonholing. Led by the smooth, warm pipes of vocalist/guitarist Rob Dickinson (cousin of Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson), Catherine Wheel featured Brian Futter on lead guitar, Dave Hawes on bass and Neil Sims on drums. They weren’t a pretty-boy guitar band, but they weren’t a scuzzy bunch of ragamuffins either. Though the band hailed from England, Catherine Wheel found itself more welcome on American air