By: Laura Walton AFC®
You had to be there! This is a line taken from the recent movie Hell or High Water. The scene is set in a small café in a dusty west Texas town. Two Texas Rangers (Jeff Bridges and Gil Birmingham) are studying the menu when the waitress approaches – that’s when it gets interesting.
She’s waitressed there for 50 years which has left her short on pleasantries and patience. She cuts off their decision making when she bluntly points out there is only one item to order and that their only choice is “which side don’t you want” (you fill in the west Texas accent). You’ll get the feel from the shot below:
Her matter-of-fact attitude made the scene memorable. Dave and I chuckled about it over the next few days – you can imagine the back and forth: “what don’t you want for breakfast” and “what don’t you want for dinner.”
Then it occurred to me that deciding what you don’t want in life is helpful and can be a lot easier than deciding what, from the infinite choices, you do want. Oftentimes we do this unconsciously based on our experiences. I think back to my high school work experiences (the county birth control clinic and the collection and repossession agency) and early work experiences (managing low rent apartment units). I think back to places I’ve lived – dorms, apartments, shared housing. And I think back to the many people in my life, each of whom has had some influence. These experiences led to a litany of things I don’t want in my life, helping to define what I do want.
Beyond the “don’t” lesson, the movie is timely. Without giving away the story, two brothers seek to revenge their recently deceased mother who they feel was mistreated by the local bank. Set post housing bubble, the dusty roads are lined with debt relief billboards and the small town main streets with out-of-business storefronts. A modern Robin Hood tale of sorts with a great waitress thrown in, I give it two thumbs up.