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Too Many Choices

25 November 2008

Firstly – Sorry it’s taken so long to post again. Miserably cold plus curled up on the couch with dog watching TV do not get the creative juices flowing. I will try to be better from now on. If you’re tired of checking back every so often to see if I’ve posted and actually want to be informed when a new post has gone up, you can subscribe to
my feed at Feedburner. WordPress doesn’t let me include the email subscription form, which causes me to question the wisdom of using this format in the first place, but too late to turn back now.

And now back to our regularly scheduled program…

Last Monday, I went grocery shopping. Despite having only thirty items on my list, I still took two hours to finish the trip. That’s 120 minutes or, for those of you who never passed second-grade math, four minutes per item. And it’s not like I was shopping at Costco or Sam’s Club or some other Gigantor Land of Foodstuffs. Nope, I was just at my friendly neighborhood regularly-sized grocery store. Been there plenty of times before, know where everything is, should not have taken so long.

I place the blame squarely and solely on the cereal aisle.

Mike asked me to buy him cereal. Cereal. Should not be that hard. I mean, seriously, who is done in by the cereal aisle? It could quite possibly be the happiest place in the entire grocery store. Smiling cartoon figures, shining 2D suns, two scoops of raisins… who doesn’t love the cereal aisle? It’s where you go when your husband is out of town so you don’t have to cook dinner. It comes in handy when you’re trying to make sure you’re getting enough fiber or when you’re trying to convince yourself it’s perfectly normal to have marshmallows for breakfast. It’s like a land of foody magic.

Apparently, however, eight months in India have made me cereal-ly impaired. I had to make two fly-bys of the aisle before I could actually force myself to stand there and look at the choices in front of me. It was too scary the first two times around – I mean, there was an Animal Planet cereal, and those marmots on the box were a little too reminiscent of that St. James Park squirrel, and I’m not going there again. But knowing that Mike needed his cereal, I took a few minutes to calm down in the delightfully bland bulk foods section, and then I braved those marmots.

What happened next can only be described as choice-induced paralysis. I stood in front of those rows and rows of boxes and could not move. It was like they were yelling “Buy me! Buy me!,” “I’m GRRRREAT!,” “I’m not really cookies – I’m a breakfast cereal!,” “If you don’t get 100 percent of your daily recommended value of vitamins and minerals first thing in the morning, you will shrivel up and die!,” etc., etc. I didn’t know which way to turn, who to choose, how to make the decision. Who knew this could happen after only eight months? I mean, as much as I try to fight it sometimes, I’m an American, for goodness’ sakes, and I grew up with choices. This should not be so hard. But eight months apparently did affect me. Life is so easy when all you have to choose from are three versions of Corn Flakes (two of which undoubtedly have more chemicals than you can possible imagine in the form of fake fruit flavoring), Choco-Pops, that teeny-weeny box of Special K, or granola. How could I possibly live with more than that?

Forcing my hands to finally move, I grabbed the first box of raisin bran I saw, threw it in the cart, and beat it to the check-out as fast as possible (where the guy asked me “paper or plastic” … PLEASE STOP WITH ALL THE CHOICES ALREADY! Oh wait, I brought my own bags… sorry for yelling) and then back to my car.

Done in by the cereal aisle – pathetic. When I think about it, though, I know that if it hadn’t been the cereal, it would have been my closet or my sock collection (80 pairs! What is wrong with me?) or the cable TV Mike got while I was gone or the multitude of coffee shops within a two-mile radius. All these choices are wearing me out, and maybe that’s why I’ve been spending days on end sitting on the couch with my dog watching only Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style and Top Chef (who needs other channels when you have Bravo?).

I’m slowly getting back into the swing of things, though. The other day I braved TLC and What Not to Wear, and over the past week, I have made significant efforts to clean out my closet, sift through my sock collection, and reduce the number of choices that seem to be overwhelming me.

I’m getting there. Just please don’t ask me to make any big decisions right now. That is, unless you want to see my scarily realistic impression of an attack marmot.

Clear versus Unsalted Borscht? How can anyone expect a person to make a decision of such magnitude on their own?

Clear versus Unsalted Borscht? How can anyone expect a person to make a decision of such magnitude on their own?

As Christine cleans her closet, Chili finds yet another way to be underfoot. Too many choices? Not for Chili!

As Christine cleans her closet, Chili finds yet another way to be underfoot. Too many choices? Not for Chili!

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