My wife and I just finished watching a sad/comic 2012 film entitled Quartet — directed by Dustin Hoffman and starring Dame Maggie Smith, Sir Tom Courtenay, Billy Connolly CBE, Pauline Collins OBE, Sir Michael Gambon, and several prominent older musicians and singers (e.g., Dame Gwyneth Jones) – that I really, thoroughly, enjoyed. It would not, I’m sure, be to all tastes, but I found it quite moving. I had, somehow, never heard of it. Fortunately, my wife had.
Afterwards, we also watched the excellent supplemental materials from the DVD, which included snippets from interviews with Dustin Hoffman.
At one point, he talks about how short this life is, and how you should not “be a schmuck and wait too late.” You should use every minute of life to the fullest. ”When you’re in an elevator,” he says, “nobody looks at anybody. Everybody looks down. ’Hey! What’s up? I never saw you before and I’ll never see you again. You can tell me the truth; we only got a few seconds before you hit your floor. Bad day?’”
I got a kick out of that comment, because, quite a few years ago, I had exactly such an experience with, precisely . . . Dustin Hoffman. On this point, he clearly practices what he preaches.
My middle son was born in a hospital in Santa Monica, California, and, shortly after his birth, I returned to the hospital to visit him and his mother. When I was done, I got into the elevator along with another man in order to go back down to the lobby. The other man turned out to be Dustin Hoffman, whose wife had also just had a baby. We were alone for several floors, and he was very friendly and talkative.
A curious memory that I hadn’t thought about for quite some time. His comment regarding the point of Quartet brought it sharply back to mind.
Posted from Park City, Utah