I hate buffet lines. My family knows that after years of my reminding them that nothing drives me bananas faster than getting stuck in a line with anxious, hungry people behind me and having to make split-second decisions on what I want to eat. The mere thought of such situations turns me into a tailspin.
First of all, when I go OUT to dinner, I figure I'm doing so to avoid work. I don't mind leisurely looking over a menu while comfortably seated at a table with others who've come to relax while they dine out. I like good service and generally see that it is amply rewarded.
After receiving indoctrination from Annie, who's worked in the service industry, nobody in our family gets away without giving a good tip for good service. Of course, having Annie who's worked in the service industry, elicits another reaction too----lousy service, no tip. We're never quite so rigid as Annie tends to be in that category and usually do give something.
Back to those smorgasboards. I have a terrible time deciding when faced with a large spread of yummy looking dishes. I always feel like I'm being pushed through the line, so by the time I get to the end, I'm usually carrying two plates full of food because everything looks just too good to pass by.
Of course, at this point, I must add a third reason I hate smorgasboards. That was the 40-plus pounds I carried around for years because of taking two plates of food, simply because I didn't want to miss out on the good stuff or hold up the line making my decisions. We all know that those buffet folks figure that if you take it, you eat it.
So what does getting fat and hating smorgasboards have to do with anything on this lovely Sunday morning? Well, that's how I'm seeing life these days. It's one big buffet, every day, and I'm having a difficult time making choices. Rather than a group of hungry people standing behind me in line, I've got ol' Father Time urging me on, reminding me to make the most of every day cuz, after all, this is the fourth quarter of life.
I've noticed myself feeling like I'm in the buffet line virtually every day since we moved here. The smorgasboard of daily things that I could choose to do is just too vast. Do I want to work inside and finally get those pictures up before the next houseguests show up? Would I rather go tear apart that compost pile? I know we need groceries, so I really should go to the store.
My friend Ann gave me a book to read and some magazines to peruse. My teaching friend Alma sent me some of her stuff to look over. I need to send some wedding presents which are long overdue. I still haven't made those last-minute changes in my manuscript. Every time I walk through the garage, I figure there's no more good excuses for those leftover boxes to still be there in stacks on the far wall. I've still got paint and there are still wooden gates and fence braces to paint.
On any given day, I face this wide assortment of "to do's," and on any given day, I find myself stewing over what to do first. Of course, mixed in between are all the outside duties that have landed in my way---deadlines, meetings, trips to town with my mother. I have such a hard time deciding that sometimes I actually find myself wishing for the good ol' days.
Those good ol' days ended about 4.4 years ago when I no longer had to follow the school-teacher lesson plan ritual of living life. Everything revolved around the schedule and scheduling life down to the very last nanno-second. All this was necessary to stay reasonably on top of my teaching responsibilities.
As the career moved on, my days spent planning and scheduling started earlier and earlier each morning and extended to seven days a week. By the time, I retired, my wake-up time on nights when I DID sleep varied from 2:30 to 2:45 a.m. Everything was so scheduled during those years and had to be so scheduled, that there was no room for smorgasboard days when I could pick a variety of items to fill the hours. I guess I liked having the routine dictate my day for me. Then, I retired. A full plate of possibilities awaited.
The difference generally involves personal choices rather than those chosen for me. And, therein lies the problem. I guess I'll work my way through this. One solution that helps is making a list and checking it twice. That disciplines me to stay on track, but then again, I kinda like to have flexibility too. I'll figure it out eventually; in the meantime, that gives me one more item on my "things to do."
When it comes down to it, I think I still prefer this dilemma over the old days of always having to be at a certain place at a certain time for a designated amount of time. I always had to be rigidly organized and stick to the plan or it seemed to all fall apart. I don't miss that.
But, here I am sitting at this computer wasting time talking about wasting time making decisions about how to spend my time more wisely and for some reason I'm feeling a nudge to get off my duffer, get downstairs and get started deciding how I'm going to use this Sunday wisely.
What a problem! I know one thing for sure. I'll not be spending any time today in a buffet line.