To pass the time on Sunday’s veeeeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrryy extended jaunt through the tornado-battered American Midwest, I was watching the fifth, and final, season of "The Wire." Now before I’m deafened by the cries of those who can’t believe that I haven’t watched it already, let me explain. (And before I go on, let it further be noted, in an only mildly boastful way, that I know David Simon – “How my friend David Simon and I laughed!” “As I said to my friend David Simon…”, etc. – which makes it doubly peculiar.)
Anyway, the reason why I hadn’t yet watched the final season of "The Wire" was because, obviously, I was saving it, and saving it for a very particular occasion, one that I hoped I would recognize what it manifested itself: “In case of emergency, break glass and read Burke or Macdonald, or alternatively watch Season 5 of 'The Wire'.” So Sunday was just such an emergency: a long bus trip, and withdrawal symptoms as a consequence of being unable to read or write. There was nothing for it: I had to break out and watch "The Wire." Only Simon could save me. I now have ten minutes of the penultimate episode left to watch, and then the last. I’ll look at them today as we drive to Minneapolis, and then that will be it: no more Wire.
I consider the fact that I’ve saved the series for so long (almost four years!) something of a strength, to be honest. It suggests that I might be rather good at tantric sex, should I ever choose to indulge in it or, indeed, should I ever find myself with quite that amount of time on my hands. (Sting can do it, but then he doesn’t have a whole lot else to do, really. I’m a busy man. I have places to be…)
But it’s not just DVD box sets that I’ve saved. (You should know that I’ve held on to the final season of "Deadwood" for the same reason.) I also have a couple of Ross Macdonald novels that I’ve yet to read, and Macdonald has influenced me more than just about any other writer, but if I read those books there will be no more, and the closest I’ll get to that experience again will be to go back and reread the earlier books, which isn’t quite the same. On a slightly different level, given that the man remains hale, hearty, and prolific, I’ll often wait for a new James Lee Burke novel to come out before I read the one that’s gone before. I want one in reserve, but there’s also the assurance of knowing that I’m not going to be disappointed. Whatever else happens in the world, Burke, Macdonald or, indeed, David Simon and his fellow conspirators working at the top of their game will not let me down.
Am I alone in this? I do hope not. Tell me, please. In the meantime, I have the final episode of "The Wire" to watch. I feel a tear coming on…