Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Year of Bad Decisions

I was giving her my usual even tempered, objective advice. And I could tell she didn’t want to hear a single word of it by how intently she was focusing on guzzling her mimosa.
“I mean, I know you’re right,” she tells me, clearly exasperated. “But it doesn’t feel right. I mean, it just doesn’t-“
“It’s not what you wanna do.”
“It is NOT what I wanna do.”
“But that doesn’t make it right.”
“But should I care more about right than I do about what I want?”
“Theoretically.”
“Theoretically. I am not living a theory, La.”
She exhales hard, and it’s my turn to focus on my drink. She and I have these conversations often, her wanting to lean in to her tempestuous nature, and me encouraging her to temper it. Because she tends to fuck things up.
A lot.
“Don’t you ever get tired of it?” She asks me without a hint of accusation or resentment in her voice.
“What?”
“Being so…together. Controlled. Knowing what to say. Doing the right thing. Being objective. Dealing in logic. Don’t you ever get tired of it?”
It’s my turn to exhale hard and wonder how she knew that I have been having this very conversation with myself.
“Yes,” I reply hesitantly, not sure where she’s going with it. “Yeah, I do. Sometimes.”
“So, why do it?”
“Because I believe it’s the best way to conduct myself.”
“Bullshit. Because it’s the best way you know to control yourself.” I shift uncomfortably in my seat. “Listen, I love this about you. I envy it. Because I can’t operate that way. And we both know the results of that,” she says, alluding back to the latest mess she’s made in her life that brought us to this conversation.
“But don’t you want to just do things? Rather than plotting and planning and organizing and executing. Just feel things sometimes? Rather than think things? Do you ever just feel?”
“Of course I feel things-“
“No, I know you feel things. You’re human. What I mean is, do you ever just give yourself over to what you feel without intellectualizing it to death? What’s the last thing you surrendered to?”
I don’t have an answer for that, and she knows it. She lets the silence linger, sitting back in her chair with a smug smirk as I continue to fidget.
“To be fair,” I counter, “your life isn’t exactly a shining testament to the wonders of feeling.”
“That was a low blow, you bitch.”
“But, true though.”
“Ain’t the point.”
“Making decisions based on facts rather than feelings just makes more sense to me. Feelings change. Facts don’t.”
“That’s true. But then when do you get to feel, La?”
“I feel stuff!”
“No, you don’t. You allow about as much feeling as you think you can handle. And then it’s all about logic.”
“I don’t understand your point.”
“You is a stubborn bitch.”
This is all true, of course. I used to feel a great deal. All the time. All the feelings. And I could barely function. Logic, objectivity, even temperedness became a safe haven for me; a way to for me to communicate clearly and effectively, a means by which to get what I needed. And ultimately, with or without my permission, another way for me to control myself.
But the point is, nobody asked this bitch all that.

“So, what would you have me do?” I ask, half joking and half serious. “Show up at a man’s place of business on a date with another man to unnerve him?”
She side eyes me, but is silent, since she did this very thing to a chef she was dating last month, and followed that little stunt with an argument in the middle of the street.
“I am not saying be petty, though it wouldn’t kill you to be petty for once in your overly goddamn noble life. Although, for the record, that shit felt GREAT.”
“That kinda shit doesn’t feel great to me.”
“How the fuck would you know? You refuse to feel out loud.”
I suppose that too is true. I am prone to feeling only as much as I can rationalize as appropriate. Which, objectively, is stupid.
“You are so goddamn good all the time. Don’t you get tired of it? Don’t you get tired of being reasonable and appropriate all the time?”
“Of course I do. Just not enough to shred a $2,500 bag and ship it to a man’s office,” an offense she is also guilty of.
“HA! That was a good one.”
“You are completely monkeyfuck crazy.”
“Perhaps. But I will tell you this; everyone in my life knows how I feel about them. What I’d do for them. Who I am. Can you say the same?”
I turn my attention back to my drink.
“I’ll make you a deal,” she says to me, her eyes dancing mischievously. “You’re turning 30 this year. You need to do something different. And you have been kinda hinting around this for the last year anyway. But you may as well go big or go home.”
“Okay…”
“Here’s the deal; for the next year, I want you to make terrible fucking decisions. Awful. Do whatever you want. Whether it makes sense or doesn’t. Do stuff without thinking or plotting or analyzing. Just do stuff. Worry about it later. Feel some stuff. Don’t think stuff. Just let go. Surrender to something or someone.”
“I don’t do surrender particularly well.”
“I know. That’s why you’re gonna do it. Just make some bad decisions. For a year. And see where you end up. Because I will bet you a spa day it won’t be so bad.”
“What’s in this for me?”
“Um… the awesome shit that comes with not doing the right thing.”
“Bitch…”
“So, for this year you are making horrible decisions, I will make better decisions. I will think things through. I will control my emotions and my actions. I will be all good and noble and objective like you.”
“You’ll never make it.”
“I will if you help me.”
“I don’t need your help making bad decisions. I’ve made it this for without a criminal record.”
“You know, I don’t think you need my help. Because I think deep down underneath it all, you are perfectly capable of making bad decisions and enjoying them. I think you are tired of being so good and in control all the time. And I think really deep down, beneath all the good and the cool and the detachedness, you’re a beautiful little mess.”
“You’re crazy.”
“You’re controlling.”
We regard each other for a while, sizing the other up and not saying anything, but knowing we both need a bit more of the other in us.
“Okay,” I tell her uneasily. “Ok. You gotta deal.”
“Seriously?”
“Seriously.”
“A whole year?”
“A whole year.”
“Well, in that case,” she says, raising her glass, “here’s to The Year of Bad Decisions.”
“Good decisions for you.”
“Yeah, but we’re gonna focus on the fun part right now. Raise your glass, bitch.”
To the year of bad decisions.

1 comment:

jessj said...

You know you're my kindred spirit. So you know I've been the one to be logical and temper emotions even though I feel them at 200%. But this summer I surrendered to feelings, just like your friend was asking you to do and it opened me up to a brand new part of myself. Everybody needs a bit of hedonism, impulse, spontaneity, and surprise. That's actually my word of the year (I do in lieu of a NY resolution) "surprise"...and both has it been one after the other. I wouldn't take it back for anything.

Live a little. Grow a lot.