It has come down to this – a three-piece puzzle – and I can barely handle that.
I am not talking “Jigsaw Puzzle.” I don’t even know if they make three-piece jigsaw puzzles.
PUZZLE MAKER: “We used to. But two year-olds were throwing them on the floor.”
IRATE TWO YEAR-OLD: “What are we, babies!?!”
I am talking about a logistical puzzle, comprised of three components, each representing one of three different locations, virtually equidistant from the other, and all less than ten minutes “walking distance” apart. Call it an equidistial… equadistantial… eqauldistancical – I can’t even write it – a geographical triangle, where three places are equidistantically separated.
The three locations are: our house, a Farmers’ Market held only on Sunday mornings, and a “Treatments Spa” where I go for massages, which I am in desperate need of these days because my weekly pilates sessions are annoying my lower back so egregiously that I need regular deep tissue massages just to stay in the game. Why don’t I simply quit taking pilates?
I do not have an answer for that.
(I think it’s helping. Just not my lower back.)
I need to go to the Farmers’ Market, because I am low on the roasted almonds they sell there which I buy because they are good for you and because I enjoy that reliable snap they make when you bite into one.
The third terminus – our home – is essential to this story, because at the moment in question, Dr. M needs to get back there to avail herself the bathroom.
(SHORT BACKSTORY: We are leaving a different Farmers’ Market that sells incredible yoghurt products, at which a biological urgency has overtaken Dr. M. I myself had availed myself of the Farmers’ Market “Port-o-Potty”, but such public facilities fall substantially below her commodial standards. So she needs to get home.
The urgency with which this trip must be accomplished can be detected in an alteration in Dr. M’s reliable driving style, her desire to rush home reflected in her honking emphatically at any driver ahead of us who “dawdles” at the intersection after the light turns green. Her hyper-insistent “Go!” reverberates loudly enough to rattle the windows.)
The rule is, “Emergencies get precedence.” What rule? I just made it up. But it makes sense, right? Whatever needs to be done first has to be done first. That, in this case, necessitates getting home.
The question involve the possible options.
(NOTE: Were I a truly considerate husband, there would not be any options. We would simply go home. But highly insensitively, here’s me, believing there are options.)
To be honest, I don’t really like options. I greatly prefer “no choice whatsoever.” I needed heart surgery; I got heart surgery. “Can I get a haircut instead?” Not an option. There was “heart surgery” and that’s it. From a decision-making standpoint, that one was relatively simple.
But here we had choices (I believed.) And I must tell you, though the stakes were relatively minor, the effort of determining what to do first was particularly taxing to my brain cells, which, it being a Sunday, were accustomed to taking the day off.
There were, as mentioned earlier, three puzzle pieces. The question was “In which order do we arrange them?” (And boy, was I happy there were only three pieces. The tension was virtually unbearable as it was. Any more options risked a “Chernobyl” in my head. Next step – “Cracks in the fissure.” And then the “Meltdown.”)
Okay, so here we go with the choices:
Do we drive to the Farmers’ market, I run in and buy the almonds, and then we go home – a delay of no more than a couple of minutes? Do we drive to the Farmers’ Market, Dr. M drops me off, and I walk home later with the almonds? Or do we forget about the almonds and just go straight home? (I hereby acknowledge – with shame – placing what is actually the correct option third.)
And what about my upcoming massage? (The third piece of the puzzle.) Could I possibly go to the spa first (either walking there from the house or having Dr. M drop me off before she went home) and then go for the almonds? That wasn’t going to work. It was too early for my massage, and if I waited until after, the Farmers’ Market would be over. Phew! It was sure nice to eliminate something.
I readily acknowledge that there are larger problems than the peewee I am delineating here. The thing is, in a crisis, the size and the consequences of the problem are not really an issue.
No matter what the problem is, your anxiety-level jumps reflexively to “Red Alert” until after it’s resolved. (Or at least mine does.) It’s like “Fight-or-Flight.” There are no intermediate levels. “Fight-or-Stroll-Casually-Away”? They do not have that.
Finally, I figured it out. And boy, were my adrenal glands happy!
First, we drove home, to take care of…the thing. Then I walked down to the Farmers’ Market to buy the almonds. After which I walked over to the “Treatments Center” for my massage.
My accomplishment gave me an immediate sense of personal empowerment. There was an unmistakable swagger in my step as I went for the almonds. I could feel the confidence growing mightily inside me.
Decision-making dilemmas – I laugh haughtily in your faces! There is no puzzle beyond my problem-solving ability!
As long it’s three pieces or less.
(And the answer is obvious.)