Janet Sheridan: Could we have a decision, please



Janet Sheridan

I stood in a hardware store transfixed by 25 types of glue, each promising to work wonders. I didn't require a miracle; I just wanted to reattach silk flowers blown off my front-door Easter wreath during Craig's annual Easter blizzard.

I studied the range of options: carpenter glue, carpet glue, all purpose glue, tile glue, fabric glue, household glue, plumbing glue and shoe goo.

The super glue I wanted was squeeze-on, brush-on, drop-on, extra-strength, double bonding, tinted or odorless.

When the store lights dimmed to announce the end of shopping hours, I was lost in thought, wondering if a glue that promised to "bond for a lifetime," could be used to shore up eyelids.

I'd lingered too long about a decision - until recently, an unknown act.

When younger, I never dithered about everyday decisions such as snooze alarm or shower, pantyhose or knee-highs. With age, I've become less certain, more given to deliberation. I ponder all possibilities, consider inconsequentials and consult compulsively. I change my mind.

I prefer my new behaviors.

When I made decisions in split seconds, I had to shop for clothes by myself. The opinions of others slowed me down. Companions might question my choice of an orange plaid jacket built for Big Bird.

So I stood alone beneath the harsh lights of dressing rooms, avoiding the truth-telling mirrors, until I wedged myself into my selection. I then peeked at my image: "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 incorrect.

"What was I thinking? I can't go out of the house in this!"

I used to feel smug when ordering in restaurants. Within minutes, Janet-the-Superior was prepared for the waitperson's inquisition. I knew what I would have to drink, the sides I would choose with my entree 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 he seemed stumped by the potato possibilities. While he engaged Hi-I'm-Your-Waiter, Jules, in a lengthy conversation about each dish on the menu, I read "War and Peace" cover to cover.

But too often I chewed a dry chicken breast over gooey rice while my husband happily downed salmon in dill sauce with garlic-mashed potatoes. I should have listened to Jules.

Throughout my working years, I thought the only decision necessary when driving was the fastest distance between two points.

I relished the arrival, not the journey.

Now I prefer to set the GPS on minimum freeway time or to stop every hour or so at a rest area or point of interest to stroll. I enjoy checking out license plates and watching fellow travelers as they stretch out their kinks or chase their rebellious dogs around the parking lot.

When my sharp-eyed husband spies the tenth hawk in less than 15 minutes and slows to watch it soar, I decide to share his enthusiasm rather than responding impatiently, "Yup, looks just like the last one."

When he suggests a detour around Green Mountain Reservoir to see what's new in Heeney, I applaud.

Now, as we sit drinking coffee in the morning watching squirrels eat from our squirrel-proof bird feeders, I mull this unexpected advantage of aging.

I may be developing the jowls of a bloodhound, but I'm also patient with opinions, open to options, appreciative of the journey.

The race is over.


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