Thursday, July 1, 2010

Decisions, decisions…
from running shoes to knocking boots

Yesterday morning, Pythagoras went for a run.

I didn’t think much when a couple hours passed and he still hadn’t returned. Then three hours went by. Four. Five.

I finally called his cell.

“Where are you?” I asked, my mind whirling with visions of the hospital ER or the possibility he finally ran away to join the circus.

“The sporting goods store,” he said. “I decided I need new running shoes.”

“So you’re shopping?” I felt a distinct sense of dread.

“I should be home in 30 minutes if you want to do lunch.”

I actually laughed at that. “You do know shoe shopping involves decision-making, right? Could you at least try to be home for dinner?”

As I expected, it was another two hours before he rolled in, still without a new pair of shoes. This was also expected.

Pythagoras is quite possibly the most indecisive person on the planet. Everything must be carefully contemplated. Whether he’s buying bananas or bike parts, he can spend weeks researching prices and building flowcharts to analyze the pros and cons of each option.

I knew we were in for a long haul with the shoes.

This is one of many reasons he would hate being a writer. I consider myself a fairly decisive person, but there are days I’m overwhelmed by the sheer number of decisions to be made in a single manuscript. How old is my heroine? How does she feel about brussel sprouts? Do she and the hero knock boots in chapter eight, or do they wait until chapter sixteen? When they fight, does she talk to her grandmother or go home alone and get tipsy on Sangiovese?

I’ve stalled out a few times in recent weeks, hesitating with my fingers poised over the keyboard. Every decision I make means I’m closing one door and opening another. Committing to a new character or plot element means these are things I have to nurture for the next 90,000 words.

It’s nerve-wracking, but also a little exhilarating.

Unlike shoe shopping.

After dinner, we headed out for another round. An hour later, I was lying on the floor in the shoe aisle watching cat videos on my iPhone while Pythagoras ran laps around the lingerie department to test shock absorption.

Finally, we escaped. I spotted a Baskin Robbins on the way out and made a beeline for the ice cream counter.

“One dish of raspberry chip, please,” I told the girl with the scoop.

“Oh wow,” Pythagoras said behind me. “Thirty one flavors? How many can I sample?”

I left him there. He’s probably still mulling the difference between French vanilla and plain vanilla.

I might go back and get him tomorrow. We’ll see how writing goes.


Martina Boone said...

Wow, our husbands ought to get together and go bowling. My husband has an Excel spreadsheet for just about everything in life. I call it "methodical", but it's really just indecisive! Hope the shoes work out, as well as the writing :)


Unknown said...

Poor Pythagoras. Did you take him into Baskin Robbins on purpose?

Matthew MacNish said...

Hmm. This sounds familiar. Like when my girlfriend is deciding what to order. Or when I'm deciding what to blog about. Decisions decisions.

Danica Avet said...

Wait, what do you mean, your characters have sex by chapter 8?! I must be doing something wrong *mutters*.

When my friends and I would do things, they'd waffle..."I don't know what we should do tonight". I'd get frustrated and say "we're doing x and everyone is going to be happy about it. Okay?"

I was nicknamed Mom. Hmph

Bethany Elizabeth said...

My family is the same way - we can never decide on anything. Until, at the end, both my dad and I are saying, "We don't care, can we just do something?" and my mom and brother are still debating. Shared eyerolls. :D

WendyCinNYC said...

He sounds a lot like my husband. I, however, am the complete opposite, and often make rash decisions that don't turn out the way I'd hoped.

A happy medium would be good.

Linda G. said...

Consider me the world's worst person for Pythagoras to spend time around. I'm an indecisiveness enabler--I always offer up too many choices. Drives my family crazy. They claim I start way too many sentences with "Are you sure you wouldn't rather..." or "Have you considered..."

Now, I'LL decide things in a snap. For me. I just like to make sure everyone else has considered all their options. ;)

Claire Dawn said...

I live on 2 extremes. Either I just do it -like I just got the new Kindle DX, the week after I bought and shipped 27 books to Japan, a prize for anyone who can find logic in that- or I will never decide.

Patrick Alan said...

Your heroine is 27 and likes brussel sprouts and cauliflower. In chapter 8 they start, but get interupted and bang it home in chapter 15, not 16. When they fight, she pounds back some jack and coke and imagines talking to her dead grandma, or maybe she's real. Why is she saying to take out a kitchen knife?

I am good at making decisions.

Sierra Godfrey said...

"I was lying on the floor in the shoe aisle watching cat videos on my iPhone "

This is one of the reasons I love you.

KD Easley said...

People that can't make up their minds drive me crazy. I used to have a friend that couldn't ever decide what to order in a restaurant so he'd wait until I ordered and just get the same thing. That used to make me livid. I'm not sure why. It made me so crazy that I would fiddle with the menu until he finally chose something just so we wouldn't be eating the same thing. Wow, I kind of sound like a bitch. There are so many more important things to ticked off about. I think I need therapy. I'm going back to my cave now.


Marissa, he actually DID end up buying a pair last night. I believe he has already returned them to the store. No joke.

Jeannie, when he finally DID select an ice cream flavor, I was annoyed to discover he picked a better one than I did :)

Matthew, we're lucky there's only one indecisive person in the household. I've hung out with families where no one can make a decision, and it drives me bonkers.

Danica, LOL, now I have to actually go look at my WIP and see where they first knock boots. I actually did throw in a sex scene much earlier than normal (there's a specific reason for it). Kinda waiting to see if it flies w/ the editor, but I like it.

Bethany, you've just described a weekend with my husband's family. Love them dearly, but quick decisions aren't a strong point :)

WendyCinNYC, I'm probably the rash decision maker in the household, too.

Linda G, gah! Pythagoras does this all the time and it drives me crazy! He has to offer a dozen alternatives to EVERYONE.

Claire Dawn, I hope they were good books!

Patrick, thank you. You've just written my entire book for me. Where shall I send the advance check?

Sierra, I was kinda surprised no one else commented on that. I know people probably assume I make crap like that up just to be funny, but I swear that part isn't exaggerated at all. I've found that if I lie down on the floor at a store, it embarrasses him enough that he leaves more quickly. There is a method to my madness.

KD Easley, LOL, did you ever order anything you knew he wouldn't like just to see if he'd take the bait?

Thanks for reading, guys!

Jan Markley said...

I have a friend like that, she'll buy five pairs take them home and then decide and take back four. Painful process.

KD Easley said...

Sad to say, that never occurred to me.