The Cambrian

Kathe Tanner: Indecision is in - isn’t it?

I sure wish somebody would decide something, anything, preferably in this lifetime. Our world is overflowing with wafflers. Few people come to a firm conclusion and stick to it these days, because they might be held accountable. Whatever happened to true grit?

We’re like those sleepy vultures in “Jungle Book.”

“Hey, Flaps. What we gonna do?” “I dunno. What you wanna do?”

Yes, some circumstances require extra consideration, because a wrong decision could cost a bundle, or hurt or kill someone. But vacillation elsewhere is a pain.

Small-scale dithering is like little bug bites, irritating but not serious. Say a grocery shopper and his cart are glued in the middle of the aisle because he can’t decide what he’ll want for breakfast tomorrow. Traffic piles up all the way back to the Cheerios. I’m running late, and all I want is a granola bar.

I say, “Excuse me?” and all I get is a blank look.

It’s exasperating.

Take it a step further: Drivers dawdle down Main Street at 3 mph, and can’t decide where to go, turn or stop. If they do stop, it’s often in the middle of the road. (Ever thought about pulling over, pal?)

And it’s not always the tourists.

When it is, Cambria’s only about a mile big in any direction, folks. How lost can you get, especially in the middle of the day? Just keep going. You’ll hit Highway 1 eventually.

(But if the alternative is a jerk crossing the double-yellow line into oncoming traffic to pass me at 25 mph over the speed limit, then I’ll take indecision any day.)

Some inconclusive situations are more inconvenient and expensive. I call it the decision round-robin.

Tooth hurts? If it’s more complex than a filling, your dentist refers you to an oral surgeon, maxillofacial surgeon, endodontist, orthodontist, periodontist or some other kind of dontist.

Car problems? The dealer or mechanic likely sends you to a shop that only works on brakes. Or transmissions, air conditioners, catalytic converters or, for all I know, there’s a place that specializes in turn signals.

I just want a one-trip fix now and someone who’ll actually decide what I need. Especially since most of them are at least 35 miles away.

Government is a jaw-clenching arena for indecision. Once upon a time, we could actually call legislators “decision makers”—because they’d earned the title. Sigh.

Ever notice that when board members really don’t

want to vote yet on actually doing something, they order another study?

On a grander scheme, legislators just send the bill to another committee.

Decision waffling is especially rampant during budget time, and worse this close to an election, because— horrors!—those votes just might offend a constituent or donor.

So the ongoing battle between our governor and our legislators doesn’t produce a budget on time (again), and in the meantime, they eliminate even more jobs and make everybody else work twice as hard for less money. Swell.

Yes, there’s another side of the coin. There always is. If an agency finally decides to fix some roads, there’s a timing tightrope between environmental constraints and the weather. Consequently, the contract starts in the middle of the busy tourist season, when there are lots more drivers to harass.

Or, if a board eventually, finally decides to accomplish something, then somebody’s sure as shootin’ going to sue them about it. And the wavering starts all over again.

The nametags read “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”

Sometimes, the littlest indecisions can produce the weirdest reactions.

We were at a restaurant, and Husband Richard seemed to be taking an awfully long time making up his mind what he wanted to for dinner.

I’m very sorry, honey. I was so unkind when you asked me what you should order.

My tantrum really wasn’t about whether you should dine on ratatouille, ravioli or ribs, dear. You were just the whipping boy for all those other people that day who couldn’t make a decision on a bet.

Besides (she says with a blush), I couldn’t decide what I wanted to eat, either.

Oh dear. Maybe indecision is contagious, like the flu. If so, we’re in big trouble.

E-mail Kathe Tanner at ktanner@thetribunenews. co m. Read more “Slices” at