Opinion: The Coming Deadline

Remington Write

You know, the one you can't miss

Cigarette packages in Europe lay it on the linePhoto byTammy Remington

Not another wheelchair getting on the bus?! I have like twenty things to get done today and I cannot believe we’re going to have to sit here for five minutes while the driver wrestles that third wheelchair onto the bus. Oh, great, and now she’s going to stop at green lights because even with that delay she’s apparently still ahead of schedule.

We live in a truly glorious world where I know I’m the only person to grind in these types of situations.


I’m not?

Are you sure?

You do it, too, huh?

Yeah, many of us pretty much lose our minds when tiresome, ordinary obstacles keep us from getting stuff done. Sure, sure. Yes, I know. All I need to do is get out of the apartment on time and then I won’t have to worry so much.


Well, let me tell you that I often manage to get out the door early (Capricorn, Scandinavian descent, duh). Doesn’t matter. I’ve still been known to sit on a crowded subway seething when the somewhat comprehensible garble comes over the PA system: due to a sick passenger in the train ahead of us we are experiencing delays (yes, I seethe over someone getting sick so sue me…WTH were they doing getting on the train anyway?). Here's the real kick in the head: I'll be carrying on like this when I’ve got plenty of time to get to my destination.

So there I am seething silently. But let just one mouth-breather start to complain and I’m pointing my seething in their direction. Silently. I don't have a death wish or anything here.

All of which is to say that even when I’ve left the apartment with plenty of time to get to wherever I’m going any unforeseen delays can have me mentally moving up and down the car kicking shins and slapping smartphones out of hands.

Furthermore, regardless of previous smarty-pants's comments, I am confident that I’m not alone in this.


Because you and I and everyone we know and have ever known or ever even thought of are going to die. All of us. There is a day moving closer to us every minute when we cease to exist (as far as we know never mind what some of us believe). We all have an inescapable deadline moving in our direction and we have a lot to get done before that day hits.

Woodlawn Cemetery in the BronxPhoto byTammy Remington
Also Woodlawn CemeteryPhoto byTammy Remington

So whatever it is that you’re thinking can wait until tomorrow, well, no it can’t. Oh, sure, chances are that if you’re young and healthy and immortal you think it can. And past evidence would seem to indicate that it can. That chapter you were going to edit last week is still there and you’ve promised the gods you’ll get to it as soon as you’ve solved today’s Wordle. It can wait.

Until it can’t.

As a close friend likes to remind me: Life can turn on a dime. Even young, healthy, immortal people get taken out every day by badly driven buses and spectacularly aggressive cancers.

Whatever else we disagree about - which is considerable - there is a species-wide consensus that death is bad. But as the ultimate deadline, death can be pretty damned effective if we pay attention. Consider this my gift to you who may be doing what I am doing right now. Daydreaming through life as if our days are endless. None of us is guaranteed a tomorrow.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, there’s something I’ve been putting off.

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Covert dilettante with an omnivorous capacity for wonder. Writing because I can't not write. Always watching for the hidden patterns and connections. I don't know I cannot fly..........and so I do.

New York City, NY

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