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The Goddess Speaks

By Debra Evans

Tuesday, July 4, 2000

Decisions, decisions...
What to do?

EVIDENCE of tenant indecision in a 90-unit apartment building dangles outside my 10th floor bedroom window. Ropes from a painter's scaffold fall from the roof to the ground floor. Like a slow rhythmic hula, the yellow ropes swish and sway with each passing breeze. The scaffold sits idle not due to lack of manpower or money, but because we have been unable to decide on a color scheme.

Passersby must be curious about a building swathed in test swatches of Peptol-Bismol Pink and Dusty Rose, Shady Blue and Powder Blue, awaiting a decision, one of those actions that propel us from one moment to the next.

Webster's Dictionary defines "decision" as a "final choice, judgment, resolution." So much finality in one thought process. And yet, we do it constantly, consciously and subconsciously, so much so that we often take this act for granted -- I'll go later; I'll take the red one; I'll take a nap now -- day in and day out, from the most trivial to the most life-altering.

More difficult decisions take more thought, such as whether to relocate to get a better paying job, buy a new car or an almost new one. Or the heart-wrenching kind, like turning down a marriage proposal from "the-nicest-guy-on-earth" because you know deep inside you don't love him as much as he loves you.

In another category are those decisions that make the front page of the evening newspaper: "Man Survives Brush With Death." How many times have we read stories where, at the last minute, someone changed their airline reservations, only to learn that the plane later crashed.

I experienced something similar. One day I happened to be standing under a professional photographer's boom light when something to the side of me caught my attention. I took a step to my left to get a closer look when suddenly, the boom light came crashing down. It landed directly on the spot I was standing in not two seconds before! I don't even want to think what the outcome would have been if curiosity hadn't gotten the better of me.

BUT of all the different types of decisions we make, the most taxing kind of decision-making has got to be those made by groups of three or more. Hung juries come to mind, where everyone thinks the guy is guilty except for one lone ranger who isn't quite convinced he did the crime.

Or try to get an office of seven people to decide where to go for lunch. Or, in my case, try to get tenants in 90 apartments to agree on a color scheme. Any decision is bound to leave some unhappy.

I realize what a blessing it is that, for the most part, we sail through life unaware of choices we make every day. Can you imagine the angst we'd feel if we became conscious of every decision we had to make? Now, later, go, stay, red, white; it would drive us crazy! We'd turn into zombies lost in a sea of Should I? Could I? Do I? and Don't I?

Thinking about the burden of the decision-making process cleared away my frustration over coming home to a kaleidoscope, and opened the door to compassion. Now, instead of feeling exasperated, I can only sympathize with the six professional painters who, last I saw, were seen standing outside of our building scratching their heads in bewilderment as they gazed up at the now FIVE different color schemes adorning our garage entryway.

Debra Evans is a secretary and writer in Honolulu.
After this column was written, the building association
cast its vote for beige.

The Goddess Speaks runs every Tuesday
and is a column by and about women, our strengths, weaknesses,
quirks and quandaries. If you have something to say, write it and
send it to: The Goddess Speaks, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, P.O.
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