Sunday, October 24, 2010

What Would Anyone Do?

Taking the family out for dinner is always an excursion into frustration at times. Because of predictability, we tend to patronize the same places and even then, the factor of undecidedness rears its ugly head.

The other night, we went to Applebees with the family plus one exchange student from Germany we had been hosting for a few weeks. As the ritual goes, the college student cum ersatz waiter/waitress introduces him/herself and asks what we want to drink to start off. You've been to this drill, so it's nothing new. I order my normal iced tea and procede to peruse the menu.

In my minds eye I notice the throng in various stages of prandial wrangling and say to myself, what should I order? In a fit of autodidactic expulsion, I go off on myself: What would Jesus do? What would Ronnie do? What would Ghandi do? What the fuck will I do?

At this point our garçon du jour returns with drinks and asks around the table what each of us will be ordering. Well, Ronnie, Jesus and Ghandi are dead. They can't help here and two of them wouldn't have a clue as to what to order on the menu or  be inclined to. In this moment of indecision, for something as simple as eating, I came to a conclusion: All of us have to decide for ourselves.

Humans have a rather feckless and lazy habit of relying on others experiences to help them make decisions on how to run their lives, what to do day to day or to help get past a current problem. Some even seem to delve into scriptural steganography in order to find some hidden meaning to life or even what color they should paint their house. Relying on proven experience is a shortcut than can save a lot of pain and trouble. Why pay for the same real estate twice? Right?  On the other hand, it tends to circumvent our own internal rational processes and experiences for a subset of someone else's. It's a template for complacency and manipulation if taken to an extreme. Who cares what Ronnie, Jesus or Ghandi would do. They aren't here, they can't help, and to be honest, they aren't you or I, living in the experience that we are. At some point, we have to make the decision ourselves and that is where the rubber hits the road.

At this point the waiter works his way around the table and it's my turn to put in my order. What will it be? Since having lap band surgery a year ago, I am a little limited to what I can eat and should eat. I avoid the crap with fries, pop, and fried foods. At this point though, I am tired of the sam old, same old. I mean, should I try something different? Shouldn't I strive for change? Should I take the chance and possibly barf, giving the exchange student something to write home about (The lap bad has its own consequences in what you can eat)? Variety is the spice of life, right? At that point,  I circle back to my original thesis, which is to say, What would Ronnie do? What would Jesus do? What would Ghandi do? What will I do? What would anyone do? What is the rational thing to do? What do I feel like doing? It was a fit of analysis paralysis. For me that is deadly. Being a Myers-Briggs ISTP, making quick decisions based on sensory data is a forte. Getting hung up isn't. Usually this happens when there is either too much data or processes. Or I just can't make up my mind. May be I would have been better off asking, What would Clint Eastwood, Charles Bronson, Mel Gibson (God Forbid), George S Patton or Ulysses S Grant would do. At least they are fellow ISTPs and their experiences a closer to mine than Jesus, Ronnie or Ghandi, who had the same types of personality (ENFJ which by the way, is the most conflictual personality with ISTPs). The clock is ticking, WWJD?

I simply ordered what I always do. The Santa Fe Chicken Salad. It always works for me...Next time though, I will try something different. I promise.

Thank you for reading this blog.

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