Decision Fatigue and Uber Time

Would you? Could you? In a car?

There is no doubt about it. It’s getting harder to make decisions. When first aware of it, I denied it and put it down for be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still. A proverb that rings true. What about, a hasty man drinks his tea with a fork? Can’t argue with that. But Tim finds it necessary to pluck me out of my contented delusion with, “I’m glad we don’t plan to move again. When we get older, it’s harder to make decisions.”  

Not ready to entertain yet another symptom of aging, “I’m not so sure about that,” forgetting my resolve to live by the motto, I’d rather be happy than right. “Nature doesn’t hurry, and in the end, She always makes the right decision.”  

“Really,” he says. Whenever I  sound profound, deep, and philosophical, Tim gives me a peculiar look and tries to increase the physical distance between us. Putting the accent on the first syllable of really,  which he just did, means doubt. It’s mind-boggling he manages to convey his sentiment with this one word.  

“Sure, moving was a lot of work. But I found making all the decisions invigorating and exciting,” I say while feeling for my hearing aids. I seem to be talking unusually loud. 

He gets that half smirk on his face, “Hmmm. Well, that’s good.” 

“As engaging as this enlightened conversation is,” I say, putting an accent on every syllable, “I’m off to take another look at the Serta mattresses and foundations.” 

“I thought you did that yesterday?” then adds, “and the day before that.” 

Trying to decide whether to listen to a podcast or music in the car, I’m a bit proud of myself for not commenting on Tim’s gross exaggeration. Besides, why is he counting how often I go to Mattress Firm? Who cares? Well, my husband seems to.  

“Hi, Edith,” Jeremy at the mattress store seems happy to see me. He’s been working there for seven years. His wife has a good job at a marketing firm, but his job is better. Not so stressful. That makes sense. Watching people lie on beds all days can’t be too stressful. It’s not like they are likely to shoplift. Jeremy is not on commission, he’s told me. Strictly salary. So, it doesn’t matter to him if I buy a mattress or not. “Go ahead, try the Serta again,” he says. His mother who weighs a lot more than I do has one and loves it. She told him it’s the best mattress she’s ever slept on. But the Serta Motion Perfect III base I’m considering didn’t work for his mother. She returned them for an old fashion spring box. Until he said that, I was leaning in the direction of buying it. 

New customers have Jeremy’s attention, leaving me stretching out with a remote control lifting my legs, then my head, then both. I could get the cheaper base that has a light for when you step out of bed in the dark. That’s something to consider. But it makes a loud noise when you use the remote to adjust the bed. The Motion Perfect III base is pretty quiet. Although, I would be safer walking to the bathroom in the middle of the night. And the number of trips to the white bowl is unlikely to decrease. On the other hand, the noise when moving the base up and down may wake me up completely making it hard to continue my slumber. I’m going to think it over.  Jeremy tells me to have a good day and that tomorrow is his day off.

The following day, Brian, the manager, is on duty. His store was one of the top-selling Florida stores in 2018, and he would like to keep it that way.  Each time I come in to test out mattresses, he assures me that we can make a deal. He will do what it takes. I wonder if he used to work at a car dealership. Actually, he should start by having a talk with Jeremy who is not on commission and indifferent if I ever buy a mattress or even a memory foam pillow.

This Valentine’s Day (2019) Tim and I went to a local art gallery, Cutter and Cutter Fine Arts. We’d been there twice together in the last month, I more often than that. What brought us there in the first place was a Salvador Dali exhibit. Tim likes his work, I not so much. But in the back corner, there was something I really liked, Dr. Seuss limited print editions. We’d decided to purchase one. I’d be the one to decide which one. Tim said he recognized every print from reading the books to the kids and grandchildren and loved them equally, books and kids, I assume. 

Bernadette who is wearing all black, with her brown hair pulled into a ponytail, wears a 24” silver necklace. I know the length from my shopping for a silver chain for some months. I’ve narrowed the search from 16 to 24.” Unlike Brian, and more like Jeremy, she never suggests I purchase anything. She said that in time one of the pieces would speak to me. She also said that the light within would turn on. Bernadette is not an artist. She wishes she was. After a while, she asks if we want some water to drink. I overhear her tell Tim that on Friday, March first, Cutter and Cutter Art is hosting an event in St. Augustine featuring the “Virtuosos of the Oil Painters of America.” I LOVE oil paintings, but they are always too expensive to even put on my Want list. She tells him all the artists have achieved OPA’s Master Signature or Signature designation. I have no idea what that means, and Green Eggs and Ham needs my attention. When I decide on “Would You? Could You? In a Car?” Bernadette chuckles. “Edith, that’s perfect. Would you, could you? And you did. You picked one.”

Decision vacillations followed by decision fatigue are not just for big purchases. Shopping for dinner ingredients, the aisle with breadcrumbs was not how I remembered it. For goodness sake, what happened to one or two choices. There is Progresso Plain, or Progresso Italian, or maybe Kikkoman Whole Wheat Panko Bread Crumbs Japanese Style. Amazon has 20 pages of bread crumbs.    

Studies support the notion that quick decisions go the way of memory, harder to get to and slower. There is no pill to pop to cure it, so here I am. Just like Sam I am in Green Eggs and Ham. Constantly wondering should I, could I? But knowing this helps. For example, when girlfriends and I attend an evening performance in the city and half of us don’t want to drive in the dark or drive with girlfriends who still think they are good drivers, it’s Uber time. 

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