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.