(Start the clock) Five minutes is very little time, the cosmic wink of an eye. Five minutes is a terribly long time to hold your breath. Five minutes of an awkward pause at an emotionally fraught impasse seems an eternity too. In reality, five minutes is enough time to express a lot.
The missile has been launched, is landing in now 3:44 minutes. Now 3:33. If I gather my thoughts for thirty seconds I can stop counting down and use my remaining time for whatever may be most important to say to whoever I am with as the universe is about to end for both of us. Saying “2:17!” adds little to the conversation, though it’s also true.
Now I have one minute and a half left, less. It seems a good time to point out that a loving attitude is better than a hating one, almost every time. To remember things we love is a better way to spend these last moments than terrified of that approaching warhead. There will be a flash in a few seconds, and the end of this beautiful world.