notquiteold

Nancy Roman

Decisions, Decisions

Years ago, I became friends with a co-worker whose life was very unlike my Ozzie and Harriet existence.

Especially in the boyfriend arena. I had no boyfriend of record. Karen had a boyfriend with a record.

And I don’t mean he was churning out hits like Ozzie’s son Ricky.

No. He was an ex-con.

Jeff had been in and out of prison a couple of times. Mostly drug charges and larceny. Can I say that this criminal was at heart a gentle soul? He seemed so to me.

Karen and I worked in a small office, upstairs from a liquor store (which was very convenient for everyone). Given that we were a small nonprofit agency, there wasn’t a lot of money for things like cleaning services, so Karen boosted her income by cleaning the office twice a week.

But most of the time, it wasn’t Karen who was doing the cleaning. She sent her boyfriend, Jeff, who almost always owed her money, and so he would do her maintenance job to pay her off.

I was an up-and-coming young executive, by which I mean I was a kid who was working my ass off hoping someone would notice and pay me more than minimum wage. So I often worked evenings.

Mostly I was alone in the evening. And although there was a lot of traffic going in and out of the liquor store, few people knew there was even an office up there, so it seemed safe to me, working in the quiet solitude.

On Tuesday and Thursday nights, Jeff would show up. He’d clean the restrooms and take out the trash and vacuum. We’d chat while he went about his chores. Mostly about music. I think at one time he was a decent musician.

Once when Jeff was finishing up for the night, and I was still balancing reports, he said that I shouldn’t be working there all alone. It was dangerous, he said.

How Strange, I thought. Most people would think it more dangerous to be there with him.

Jeff talked a little bit about his troubles with the law.

“Sometimes when I think about stealing something,” he said, “I think about the chances I could get caught. Whether it would be worth taking the risk that I could go back to jail. And you know… sometimes it is.”

I was astounded, but tried not to show it. I’m sure I looked like a kitten being confronted by a python.

“No shit,” Jeff said. “Prison isn’t that bad. I’m not so good at doing the right thing -getting up and going to work, or eating right, or cleaning up after myself. In prison, you don’t have to even think about anything. You do what they tell you and you work and eat and sleep and it’s okay.”

There’s a lot of truth there.

When I think about my childhood, it’s one of the things I miss most:  NOT making decisions.

Life was so much easier when I didn’t have to choose. I just did what Mom and Dad said, and there was a meal on the table and clothes in the closet and gas in the car and heat and electricity and sometimes even a vacation.

Now I am faced with so many decisions, and I don’t find it agreeable at all.

Little ones, like today, when I had to decide whether to stay home sick or go to work sick. Infect everyone? Or look like a shirker?

And our old reliable SUV needs a major, expensive repair. Do we pay the exorbitant sum to fix it and hope it stays reliable? Or do we trade it in, and add another car payment to our monthly expenses? And if we do trade it in, what do we buy? New? Used? Do we lease?

On top of that, my retirement is now fast-approaching. My soon-to-be-diminished income isn’t helped by either a big car repair or a big car payment. And even more critical, where do we even want to live? Do we head south, where costs are lower and the weather suits our temperament, or do we stay north,where our friends and family provide the warmth?

I just can’t decide.

I want someone to decide for me.

I need someone to decide for me.

Except my husband, of course.

I resent that.

 

myeyeslookinguprev

38 Comments

  1. When you find that someone, send them my way. I hate making decisions these days.

    Like

    • How about if I decide for you, and you decide for me?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Let’s move to the Bahamas. We can work part time at the beach bar making margaritas. We can take the husbands too.

        Like

  2. sassycoupleok

    Buy the damn new car and move south !! It’s much warmer here and cost of living is less. There, it’s done, no turning back ! 🙂

    Like

  3. Ray G

    If you absolve me of any consequences, I will make all of your decisions. Just email me. Heh, heh. (with a Richard Widmark look, eh).

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    • I think the difficulty of decisions is why people join cults.

      Like

  4. O my. Just spent an hour at the therapist trying to find answers. Maybe we all need to go in on a Ouija board? Or a Magic Eight Ball?

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    • I tried the Magic Eight Ball (online) – it said, “Reply Hazy, Try Again.” Just my luck.

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  5. If you move south you won’t need an SUV. Farther south than DC, that is. Much.

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    • My husband and I both like hot weather. But we’ve always both lived in Connecticut. Moving away is very scary.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I STILL miss living there. When I was planning to win that huge lottery, I even found a house on the water in my old neighborhood in Westport. I had planned to go back … It probably got flooded during the storm. (Can you say sour grapes??)

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        • Westport is still as lovely as you remember.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I know … and actually my house is being lovingly cared for, which really makes me happy. It’s an old Victorian with gobs of charm.

            Liked by 1 person

  6. Decisions can mean change and change can be harder as we get older. But changes come anyway so keep going! A difficult decision for us at retirement was to stay where we have been for years or move away. Decisions, decisions…we are staying. I will have to check out that online Eight Ball. What if you and your husband make some of those decisions together? As long as he agrees with you! Good luck.

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  7. I hear you sooooo much, gf! I, too, am tired of making decisions. I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t. Most times I don’t mind my husband making decisions, but half the time I don’t agree with him, or he doesn’t make them at all. I love being a mom (even if the kids are gone), but sometimes I’d just like someone else be the mom. Make me dinner and tuck me in bed and tell me everything’s gonna be allright.

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    • So true. Make me some dinner and tuck me in!

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  8. shewasthenaz

    Or go commit a crime and have someone else decide!

    (If you commit a federal crime, they might even sentence you to a federal correctional facility in another part of the country!)

    Like

  9. Reblogged this on ugiridharaprasad.

    Like

  10. Christine

    When I was still going to Catholic grammar school, Mom once said to me that the nuns had a good life — they never had to worry about shelter or food (or, thought she didn’t say so, making decisions). At the time, when boys, clothes and movies were my main interests, I thought that was a crazy idea, but now I see what she meant.

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  11. We just went through this with both our cars. In the end we scrapped He-Who’s and he has a bright shiny new car. Mine had the absolutely essential repairs done to it and then survived over 5,500 kilometres round trip down to Cape Coral, Florida. Had we taken his, which was the original plan, we would have been on the side of a road somewhere in Virginia buried in snow.

    Like

    • We decided to fix it. We both love that old SUV. Hope we can make it last another year or two.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Chris

        AHA – you said “WE decided”

        Like

  12. Dana

    Jeff should have joined the Army!

    I think you should stay home sick from work, trade your SUV for a camper van, and drive to Florida! 🙂

    Like

    • I always thought the same thing – that the Army would have been great for Jeff

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  13. I think we all hate decisions, the older we get the more we hate them. I suspect it is because we have a lifetime of understanding each decision we make has consequences.

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    • At this point in my life, I have a big fear of regret.

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      • Ray G

        Be very careful of that particular fear; it can paralyze someone.

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  14. Bonnie

    Don’t move south – too many bugs and conservatives!

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    • And I’m not sure which one would be worse!

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  15. Bonnie

    On a more serious note… I think there is a lot to be said for staying near family as we get older. My grandparents moved to Florida and became very isolated.

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    • I agree… I love that our family is nearby.

      Like

  16. I get that your income will diminish but still–YAY for retirement!

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  17. I am a single mum, making decisions for every aspect of my life and most of the decisions that affect my teens still at home. It is hard and sometimes I feel like screaming “Someone pamper me!” Actually, I think that will be my next blog post, you have inspired me!

    Like

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