19 Apr

“Indecisions, Indecisions”

“Decisions, Decisions” in Main Line Today (May, 2013).

I stand in aisle nine and stare blankly at the toothbrushes. There are 97 different kinds to choose from – each one recommended by a different dental association. I pour over the options, weighing my mouth’s needs with each toothbrush’s specialty.

I find the one perfectly suited for me, but it only comes in pink. I can’t rightly go home with a pink toothbrush, so I go through the exercise again until I find the best runner up.

All told, I’ve burned 10 minutes and haven’t even made it to the toothpaste yet. And I’ll likely have a cavity at my next check-up anyhow (in which case I should have gone with pink).

The process repeats itself in aisle after aisle. 32 types of light bulbs; 21 different detergents; chocolate chips in 16 shapes, sizes, and flavors; and 1,289 pasta sauces (somewhere in this sea of red, there must be a jar that reads “marinara”).

By the time I leave the grocery store, the moon has replaced the sun and I’m left with heartburn, a headache, and an utter sense of uncertainty about the stuff I’ve just purchased.

According to the Food Marketing Institute, the average number of items carried in a supermarket is 38,718 (63 of which are likely kinds of shampoo). Not that it’s any better elsewhere: The home store has 86 kinds of caulk, the pharmacy 132 ways to get rid of a cold, and the shoe store at least 61 types of sneakers for a sundry of ambulatory activities.

Sometimes, I’ll bypass brick and mortar altogether and try my luck online. With the web’s untold options and countless opinions, I find these escapades even more fruitless – as in my recent request for a new potato peeler. Mary from Minnesota absolutely loved the peeler I was considering, while Bob from Idaho found it dull and mediocre at best. Idaho Bob should know too, but perhaps he’s just a potato peeler snob. Then again, renowned blogger Potato Patty gave it a four-spud rating on her website. “I would have given it five potatoes,” she wrote, “but it didn’t do such a hot job with apples.”

Three hours flew by, and I still had reservations about the potato peeler. Frustrated, I shut the computer down, having accomplished nothing.

Utterly paralyzed by uncertainty and frequently emasculated by choice, my daily life continues to be colored by the seemingly unending mantra: “indecisions, indecisions.”

Take away my choices ad infinitum, please!