Saturday, February 17, 2007

Good word

hamartia - the character flaw or error of a tragic hero that leads to his downfall

Mine is indecision.

I've had arguments because I couldn't choose between Taco Bell or Taco Time.
I keep new clothes untouched and with the tags on for a week, just in case I change my mind.
I once laid out 10 identical paintings and spent 2 hours selecting which one I liked the best. The hills were a tad flatter in this one, the sun burned slightly brighter in that one, the camel's foot hovered a few millimetres off the ground in another.

And those are just the little things. It drives people crazy, I know. But I can't help it.

Oddly enough I've been able to make some pretty huge decisions without much fuss. When I was 20 I decided to go visit a friend in NZ, and a week later I was there. I moved to China without hesitation or qualms.

But lately I've felt more aware at how debilitating this ambivalence is. Often, I'm truly indifferent, and I don't want to make a choice because that would imply I favour one option over another. I can't choose which Taco joint to eat at, because they're both slop anyway and I have no opinion as to which slop I want. However, a lot of the time I'm obsessed with making the right choice. Do I really want to spend money on this shirt? What if I find a better one or a cheaper one? I would hate to get that painting home and realize that all I can see is how the camel's foot doesn't quite touch the sand dune. I don't want to make a mistake!

I think the reason the focus is on the small stuff, is because I manage to avoid major decision-making. I just coast along with whatever job is on the table, not doing anything to rock the boat. If I think about changing course, the possibilities of the unknown consume me as my head fills with "what ifs", and the infinite variations of potential futures overwhelm me until I feel nauseous.

For now I'll coast. I'm content. I'll struggle through decisions on whether to buy the ugly pink boxing gloves or the ugly green and orange ones. I'll be the last to order and then run after my server to say I've changed my mind. I'll stare at my cup for ten minutes debating between tea or coffee. I'll buy the same sweater in two colours because I can't choose which one I like best. Or I'll walk out with nothing for the same reason.

I know there will come times when I stand nervously at a fork in the road, wishing I could glimpse where each path leads. I just hope that when those times come I'm able to choose, take a step forward, and keep going. Each path leads somewhere, which is a hell of a lot better than wasting away at the crossroads.


Laoch said...

Your post made me think of this poem by Robert Frost

deadites said...

ROFL!!  My friend use to do the "arms flailing" Kermit impressoins too, especially when he have conniptions introducing Fozzy Bear..  You\'d swear Jim Henson was on crack at that point.  LOL

Aileen said...

it all makes sense, except I\'d like to point out your life is NOT a tragedy

t i m said...

Caution is good, but life is also about taking chances, so always go with your hunch.
Alternatively what you need is this invention called a coin.
When you flip it, heads means choice \'A\', tails means choice \'B\'. Try it sometime. :)

Bob said...

Yeah!  I\'m like that too!  And my wife even more!!  Can\'t make a decision in case it\'s the wrong one, and if it is!!.......
I\'m learning. slowly but surely. that decisions determine the path of our lives but not every little one.....Maybe!!  LOL!
I\'m rambling here and I don\'t even know you!! (HI!!!)  but Jimmy Buffet said it best:  "Roll with the punches, Play out all your hunches, Make the best of whatever comes your way!!" (Cowboy In The Jungle)
Soooo, Byeee!!!  Bob~

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