February 27, 2017 | Rome, Italy | Sunny 7°C


"Not so sure…" can last a lifetime.
By Eleonora Saravalle
Published: 2017-02-10

hough my monthly column is due in the middle of the month, I often can't decide what to write about. This time I forgot the good idea I'd come up with earlier in the month. But that's not the point. I'm indecisive. In fact, I'm so indecisive I decided to write about it.

At first, I was going to open my column with a famous quote on indecision. But I couldn't decide on which one. All of them sounded right, but none really stood out. "I just lurch from indecision to indecision," said actor Alan Rickman. That's fine, but it wasn't quite what I was hoping for. "Indecision and delay," said British politician George Canning, "are the parents of failure." Fair enough, if a little negative.

Not being able to choose a quote for a column on indecision can make you flustered if not angry. So I decided to dissect my indecision, hoping to eradicate it once and for all. Where did it come from?

I'm an aspiring actress. Maybe that was it. Actors are supposed to see things from all points of view. Maybe taking in so many feelings and vantage points created an obstacle. But I also have trouble developing conclusions about people's actions in specific situations. I understand how I see it and how they see it, which makes it hard to settle on the "correct" interpretation. When someone tears a retractor knife from my hands it suggests to me they think I can't handle one. But what if that person was once a kindergarten teacher and worrying is just an old habit?

Situational indecision isn't my only burden. I'm indecisive when it comes to simple things like choosing food.

I'm a pitiful sight in a restaurant. My palms sweat as menus are passed out. I watch keenly as everyone zeros in on that one menu item they want. Me? I dance from burger to steak to pasta. And when I get to the pasta selections things only get worse. Which pasta? Or maybe I should pick risotto? Soon, the satanic waiter arrives, my sworn enemy, and disguising evil with politeness asks me to start the ordering process.

Jimmy Buffett: "Indecision may or may not be my problem."

But I'm too smart. I nonchalantly ask someone else to do the honors. Everyone else picks something, after which Satan returns to me. That's when the loud ordering is broken and silence reigns. In a panic I say burger, even though it sounds a little heavy. But the waiter keeps his gaze fixed on me, the way a crocodile holds on to his pray until it drowns.

"How would you like your meat cooked?"

"Um… medium rare…"

"What bread?"

"Plain… Yeah, plain."

"And your potatoes? Fries? Mashed? Roasted?"

"Ah… fries."

"What veggie?"

"What are the options?"

"Spinach, carrots, fennel, broccoli, mixed, salad … "

"Salad, salad!"

"What dressing? Thousand islands, Italian vinaigrette, Caesar, raspberry vinaigrette.."

"Italian vinaigrette!"

Worn down, I slump over the empty plate.

Indecision can be debilitating. I'm often uncertain how to move. Even little decisions can be hard.

So, what kind of indecisive afflicts me? Is it based on wanting to take in too much (acting indecision) or just internal paralysis? Maybe it's both. Or maybe one is a ramification of the other. I should probably know but I don't.

Then again, maybe not knowing is a good thing because it drives home the point that I'm indecisive.

But wait, isn't deciding not to decide a decision? If so, who says I'm even indecisive?

This can be exhausting, but it's not useless. Not when you have to a column to write. All of which leads me to Jimmy Buffet, who once summed everything up in a single quip: "Indecision may or may not be my problem."

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