Decisions are tricky beasts. Sometimes they flash in front of you like shooting stars, no sooner considered than made, while at others they drag themselves out over the course of a few hours, days, weeks … and then there are the ramifications.
Marry in haste, repent at leisure, or so they say. This, plainly, is nonsense. If one is to make the inference this aphorism wishes you to, namely that you’ll have a shitty time of it, then repent you may: but hardly at leisure. For those of you rolling your eyes and muttering to yourselves at this point, perhaps a heretical imprecation or two under your breath, then fret not. This blog is not about marriage. Been there, done that, got royally screwed. It’s about the process of decision-making.
Yesterday it snowed. A bit. Everyone panicked. As usual. I mailed my evening class (6-9pm, for heaven’s sakes) and asked them whether they were going to be able to make it. Then I failed to do an interview and had a very nice lunch which, as VNL’s tend to, overran somewhat.
Naturally, I had concocted a mail which explored the nature of decision-making. I didn’t want to make the call, particularly, but thought that it ought probably be made. So I relied on my students to decide for me. This they did, but, me being at lunch failed to realise.
Note to self:
‘what is truth’, asked jesting Pilate, but stayed not for the answer.
Naturally, he turned around after twenty paces and said ‘eh? Didn’t quite get that …’ as all ability to speak left the body.
If you ask the question, it’s wise to wait for the answer, just in case.
So. A class of three. A good class, but short, as the fear of the incoming inclemency made decision no. 2 easy to make. Come 7pm, ‘I’m off’.
And off I go.
I join the M25 at about 7.15pm. Ok, I join a car park at 7.15. The traffic crawls. In between the long minutes of stasis. But we’re used to this. One of my students (from Missouri) just laughed at our ineptitude. And rightly so.
We expect the traffic to clear. The radio has no idea what’s going on. Unless drivers text them. This in itself opens up a whole new avenue – wikiweather. The simple fact is that the authorities had no clue. Not one. After three or four hours, in which I had crawled forward a mere three miles, I saw a flashing sign saying J7 exit closed. Oh. Joy. That’s me. Bugger. Er … then no more messages. Eventually the radio person gets their inability to tell clockwise from anticlockwise corrected by a listener. I see a police car on the (annoying clear … but isn’t it always?) other carriageway and a van driver asks him something. ‘Haven’t a clue, mate’, he shouts, before rapidly withdrawing.
People drive too fast. They spin their wheels. They crash. A lot. Cars litter the road and the hard shoulder is full of drivers who have given up. They change lanes constantly, though I note that from the moment I join the car park to the moment the ‘traffic’ is broken up by a large shunt, the cars and lorries round me are largely the same. Mindful of the potentially closed J7, I hack (oh, if only) off the M25 at the 217 to Reigate. Another decision. The new, small road actually seems in better shape than the big bastard I’ve just left. This must have been around 1.30am. Only 6 ½ hours to travel about thirty miles.
The traffic is still slow, but I note that while the verges are full of cars plainly abandoned several hours earlier, it’s actually one driver holding everyone up. Eventually the queue overtakes him … then across country I go.
The radio is hilarious. Not least when a representative from the highways agency, more than aware of his kinship to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern on their arrival in England, says with an apparently straight face that ‘there has been some congestion on the roads this evening, but the agency has dealt with them …’ or somesuch nonsense.
Cross-country the roads fluctuate, but constant motion means no decisions necessary. All that is needed is to avoid falling asleep at the wheel. In total, 8 ½ hours. That’s a long journey, and from what I understand, quite short … the decision unmade added time, the decision made scrabbled some back. Our arses may have two cheeks so that we may be easily (if uncomfortably) perched on the fence. In long lines like the crucified slaves in Spartacus. ‘I’m indecisive …’
In this world, the decisions we make, we unmake, and we fail to make all resonate, reaching out like ripples and affecting all of those around us. Most of all, however, the decisions we fail to make or delegate mean we lose control of our lives, we lose control of our regrets, of our past. If we make a decision and it fucks up, if we end up in the great car park of life, then hey … our own doing. If we delegate, or even worse, disenfranchise our decision making, then when it fucks up we are to blame for failing to act. If it rocks, it’s because of someone else.
So. Decide. Act. Take the consequences.
It’s as plain as day.
So why am I apparently so incapable?