Could We Have a Decision, Please

Glue Tube

I stood in a hardware store transfixed by twenty-five types of glue, each promising to accomplish the impossible. I didn’t need a miracle: a small tube of super glue to reattach the wings of a ceramic angel would be sufficient.

But I studied carpenter glue, carpet glue, all-purpose glue, tile glue, fabric glue, household glue, plumbing glue, and shoe goo. I discovered the super glue I sought could be purchased as squeeze-on, brush-on, drop-on, extra-strength, double-bonding, tinted or odorless. I spent long moments with glue that promised to hold up for a lifetime, wondering  if it could solve my eyelid problems.

An impatient employee locked the door behind me as I left —  glueless.

When younger, I never dithered over a decision. I would have been out the door with the glue I needed in minutes. With age, however, I’ve become less certain, more given to deliberation, and more open to possibilities.

I prefer my new behaviors.

I used to shop for clothing by myself so the opinions of others wouldn’t slow me down.

I stood alone beneath the harsh lights of dressing rooms, thinking, “High in the waist, a strange pucker along the zipper, bruised avocado is an unpleasant color, but it will do.”

My shopping decisions were quick and misguided. “What was I thinking? I can’t go out of the house in this!”

I also made quick decisions in restaurants, needing only a couple of minutes to be fully prepared for the waitperson’s inquisition. I knew what I would have to drink, the sides I would choose with my entrée, and the salad dressing I preferred. I had backup selections in case my choices were no longer available.

Meanwhile, my husband reacted to the standard inquiry about soup or salad as though it were a trick question and seemed stumped by the potato possibilities. While he engaged Hi-I’m-Your-Waiter Jules in a lengthy conversation about every dish on the menu, I read War and Peace cover to cover.

But, too often, I ate an overcooked chicken breast with gooey rice while my husband dined on salmon in dill sauce with garlic mashed potatoes.

So now I chat with Jules.

Throughout my working years, I thought the only decision necessary when choosing a driving route was the fastest distance between two points. I anticipated the arrival, not the journey.

Now Joel and I set the GPS on minimum freeway time and stop every hour or so at a city park or rest area where I enjoy checking out license plates and watching fellow travelers as they stretch out kinks or chase dogs held captive in cars for too many miles.

On the road, when my sharp-eyed husband spies the tenth hawk in less than fifteen minutes and slows to watch it soar, I share his enthusiasm rather than responding, “Yup, looks just like the last nine.”

This morning as we drank coffee and watched snow swirl around our yard, I thought about this unexpected advantage of aging: the ability to dither and fritter. I may be developing the jowls of a bloodhound, but I’m also patient when making decisions, open to opinions and options, appreciative of the journey.

The race is over.

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47 thoughts on “Could We Have a Decision, Please

  1. This is great. You’ve nailed so many of the things I still do, but look forward to avoiding at some point. I am so looking forward to avoiding the “fastest route” on my GPS. My best friend is always ready to order the moment the waiter appears. I have learned to tell the waiter to ignore him and come back after I’ve read the menu. I used to just order the first thing I saw.

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  2. There is a lot of joy in dithering. You could call it “savoring the moment”, as some enlightened types do. Hard to be in the slow lane though, in a culture that is full of people who would just as soon run you down as wait for you to cross the street! But it’s not that bad, really, just seems so on these holiday shopping days!

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  3. My mentor in teaching has become my mentor in retirement… I read this post on my iphone while waiting in the car for my husband who was visiting every possible place in town that might have a specific item he needed for a craft. (I have plenty of time to read, and with a Smartphone in hand, plenty of reading material readily available at all times.) We finally arrived at the grocery store where I read your post out loud. We both laughed and, after a short debate, decided to go ahead and go in the store even though we realized the grocery list was home on the counter. After all, we had time to come back if we forgot something. Dither and fritter 101 passed with flying colors! Thank you your joyful, inspiring blog posts!

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  4. I’m in the middle on this one. I grew up on the east coast where everything is rush, rush, rush. So I do enjoy the slower pace—well, except for the freeways around Salt Lake—here in the mountain west. But while it’s nice sometimes to dither and deliberate I feel we are faced with too many decisions these days on everything from glue to toothpaste to health care plans.
    Tim and I are picking a new health care plan for 2016; I don’t want to have to decide which plan, among 187 of them(!), is the best one. That way I’m almost guaranteed to choose the wrong one. How about a choice between five or ten insurance plans??

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rita, I’ve felt for some time that we have too many options. Many years ago, I saw a wonderful movie, Moscow on the Hudson, in which Robin Williams plays a Russian musician who defects to the US. In one scene, he goes to a supermarket to buy coffee and becomes so overwhelmed by all the choices he becomes dizzy, totally disoriented. I know the feeling; I think overabundance is another reason I flee malls. Too much. Too many choices.

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  5. As I dithered this morning over where to put the spices, cutting boards and measuring cups in the new-to-us kitchen, I was grateful no one was helping me get it done more quickly. I know the new geography will sort itself out in time. Today, my snail’s pace is just fast enough.

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    • Fast enough, Lorie, and more enjoyable. After we remodeled our kitchen, I took days to reassemble it and had fun doing so. I still congratulate myself on the wise decisions I made as I dithered.

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  6. This is hilarious. Too many gems to list. I do wonder what the rush was all about. After all, we knew the final destination. I enjoy those times when time runs slow now. I take note of the few moments when there is no pain–and stop to enjoy them. I enjoy a cup of coffee now, instead of slugging it down so I could rush off and risk my life and health for the enrichment of others. I still get up early because it’s quiet–I like quiet. And I know I can take a nap latter. 🙂

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  7. “Dither and fritter”…. I love the imagery of the words too! And your post gave me a chuckle. One of my favorite frittering is to spend all the time I want in the morning with coffee and reading the morning paper before starting the day’s activities. womenlivinglifeafter50.com

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  8. Another humorous ZINGER!!! Your Joel sounds like the male version of my “Princess”….one of the biggest arguments that she and I have are in the car when SHE’S driving….while she’s “looking for birds and other critters”, I”M the one that’s actually looking at the road in front of us. I’m starting to “mellow out” as I age, but I still get a TWITCH in my neck, when she drives.

    PS I just went the “glue route” myself….bought some “GORILLA GLUE” for the monkeys I need to fix!!

    Love your pieces. Too funny. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, Lucie, I’ve tried to explain to Joel many times that being his passenger is not stress free; I regularly experience the twitch in the neck you mention. As always, I’m glad you find my writing funny. I like to make others laugh and relate.

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  9. Just this week a friend asked me if I’ve changed much since age 25. The first words out of my mouth were, “I’m a lot more patient!”

    At 41, I’ve learned that life doesn’t turn out the way we expect despite our best laid plans so I can either get upset or muster up the patience and courage to work on Plan B, and C and D and so on.

    I’ve spent too many years making hasty, decisions, the last of which almost cost me my life 3 yrs ago. Learning to be more patient and live in the moment is my goal. So far so good!

    Great post and thought-provoking topic. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Spot on again! We are taught to do rather than to be; I find this hard to unlearn. A few years ago people would greet each other with “How are you? Busy?” With the implied message that there was something wrong with you if you weren’t. There is some hope – eg the slow food movement. But do go back and get some sort of glue for your angel.

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    • I did finally glue my little treasure back together, Sally. Thank you for your concern about her. I remember the days when the routine greeting in my circle was “Keeping busy?” I agree that doing rather than being is a difficult thing to unlearn.

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  11. This is wonderful! I must be older than I thought because I’m all for slowing down and smelling the coffee, roses and anything else that takes my fancy. But maybe I’ve always been a bit like that? Years ago when I lived in bustling, traffic-heavy Johannesburg I drove an old car that overheated if it stood still for longer than a single traffic light change. Like a shark, my car had to keep moving in order to stay alive. Consequently I developed my own “scenic routes” through all the suburbs in order to avoid the other cars and traffic snarl-ups. It always took longer but I still had a working car when I got there, and I arrived calm, having experienced less road rage than most other Johannesburg drivers.

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  12. My friend, Marcia, fell on her face a few years back, racing for the #50 bus, the week she spent looking like Quasimodo, helped me feel better about having been born half sloth. My peeve is people who scoff their food, lick the plate clean and decide it’s time to go. Now I am old, I savor every bite. Great post Janet, thank you.

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  13. I hope to be able to take my time with decisions one day soon. At the moment I tend to rush them then spend hours after the fact worrying that it was the wrong choice. Your dithering and fittering sounds like a much better option.

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    • I so well remember my days of making hasty decisions then worrying that I could have done better for hours, even days. I still, on occasion, make questionable decisions, but usually when I slide into my past bad habits and buy clothing or something for the house just to end the misery of shopping..

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  14. Before I returned to university studies as a mature student I made decisions on the fly. My attitude was unless it’s death just about every decision can be over turned. Now I consider both sides of every argument, read all the labels and dither ad nauseum whether ot have crunch or smooth peanut butter. I learned a whole bunch of new stuff at uni but dear me it has interfered with what was once a precision machine in the decision making stakes.

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  15. You expressed this so beautifully Janet, and I agree totally.
    I’m just glad that we’ve been given this time to soak up the simple things. Here in Australia, driving on the speed limit you are likely to have someone driving too close encouraging speed. I pull over as soon as it’s safe and let them pass. I hope you find that glue!

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