This post was inspired by “I Can’t Decide“, a post by humor writer Gary Wanamaker.
I took a career aptitude test in high school, with a long series of questions to be answered Yes, No, or Undecided. The question: “Are you indecisive?” My answer: “Undecided.”
I laughed at myself and changed my answer to “Yes”, but it made sense at the time. Sometimes I’m very decisive, and sometimes I’m ridiculously indecisive. I’m pretty good with big decisions: College? Yes. Buy a house? Definitely. Have a couple of kids? You betcha.
However, smaller decisions can immobilize me. I’m up to my eyeballs this week in eleven years’ worth of my children’s clothes. Not ALL of them, since I have gotten rid of many over the years – if an item is completely trashed, I feel no urge to save it, and if it’s in great condition and has no particular emotional meaning, I cart it off to the resale shop. In recent years, though, I’d gotten a little lazy about it, and I swear the baby clothes started reproducing down in the basement. I’ve spent the last week sorting out clothes – washing, drying, folding, mending, sorting – Clothes for Goodwill, Clothes for Resale Shop, Clothes To Save For My Sister’s Kids, Clothes I Sewed All By Myself (also being saved for my sister’s kids), and Clothes That I Can’t Stand To Give Away Because Even After Eleven Years They Still Make Me Go All Melty Inside.
Decisions upon decisions upon decisions, and these are not a few of my favorite things. Ideally, eventually, the only decisions I’ll have to make about my kids’ clothes will be simple: Does it fit? If no, then is it in good enough condition to save or give away? If yes, put it in the appropriate box or give it away, done deal.
This is HARD for me, though. All those tiny decisions, one after another, send my brain into a fugue state where I find myself unable to make any decisions at all, including the rather crucial one to quit watching television and go to bed since it’s 12:45 in the freakin’ morning.
The way I avoid this in everyday life is simple – do it the same way, every time. That way there’s no decision to be made! I can walk into Subway and know that I only have one choice to make: Favorite Sandwich A (six-inch seafood on flatbread with American white cheese, mayo, and light lettuce), or Favorite Sandwich B (an eye-wateringly spicy veggie sandwich that makes me so socially unacceptable for the next three hours that I mentally refer to it as the “F— You Sandwich,” since I have to have that attitude firmly in place toward the rest of the world before I take the first bite). If the Subway in question doesn’t carry seafood salad, then ta-daa! The choice is made! Same drink every time (Coke), same chips every time (baked Lays), and if I’m feeling very adventurous, I have carefully allotted room for spontaneity: Live a little! Have a white chocolate macadamia nut cookie!
My job as a professional musician means I can wear a lot of black. I like that. Black is easy, and it matches everything.
I eat the same thing for breakfast every morning.
I take my shower in the same order every day, and have been known to accidentally wash my hair twice if I get things out of order because I haven’t fully woken up yet.
I have the same birthday cake every year (yellow, with Pillsbury chocolate fudge frosting).
I once had a date go completely south when he ordered pistachio ice cream (because he’d never had it before) and I ordered strawberry (because it was what I always had).
I’m not like this with everything, don’t get me wrong – my pedicure might be red, blue, purple, or black with silver sparkles. I have a treasure trove of scarves to dress up my black clothes. My summer sandal collection is somewhere in the outland well past eclectic. And if something goes wrong with my schedule, I don’t go completely to pieces – I will not go hungry in the morning if I run out of Skippy chunky peanut butter, creamed honey, or my favorite brand of whole wheat English muffins.
But it’s easier. An optimist might say I’m simplifying my daily choices to allow room for creativity. A pessimist might say I’m depriving myself of all the excitement of life. A shrink might say, “cough*OCD*cough.”
All I can say is that I’m the person you want to be standing behind in line at Starbucks. Because when they ask, “Tall grande venti short skinny decaf half-caf misto macchiato mocha whipped cream latte espresso cinnamon sprinkles and do you want fries with that?”, I already know my answer: “Tall! Hot chocolate! Whipped cream! Take THAT, confusing barrista girl!”
OK, so maybe I’m boring. But I’m boring with bright red toenails, cute shoes, and a darn good cup of cocoa. I think I can live with that.