Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Rash decisions that feel really good (and only have minor repercussions)

I sometimes contemplate the mechanics of decision making. 

For example, say you find yourself hungry, a bit tired, and you're scanning a menu in a restaurant and...okay, let me refrain from using the third person and jump right over to the first. This actually happened to me, and it was wonderful. I was on a business trip to Montreal in my former life. Our small team of 'analysts', were in a restaurant celebrating the end of a long grueling strategy meeting or corporate planning meeting or some other horrible thing for which I certainly ...totally ...absolutely ...do not miss. It had been a long day and I had knocked back a few 'primer' cocktails to try and decompress from being trapped in a conference room all day, constantly fighting that strange, listless half-sleep state induced by the droning sighs of the office ventilation system. So anyway, slightly drunk, tired and a little bit giddy, I just couldn't make sense of the French-language menu. I can read French, but not well on the best of days, and certainly lacking after two double G and T's. Our lead analyst, a quintessential French-Canadian bon vivant who likely had a 1982 Bordeaux hiding in his 'sous sol' and whose shirts were always well pressed, offered to order the whole meal for the table. I instantly felt a huge crushing weight on my shoulders shrivel up into a blissful airy nothing. I sat back and smiled like a Cheshire cat. He perched his bifocals on the end of his nose and proceeded to arrange for my dinner. I was thrilled, for in that magic moment I was not burdened with the exhausting task of making a decision. The meal was delicious, and perhaps even better than delicious given that I had no idea what dishes were coming to the table or what wine I was too drink. 

So this leads me back to the contrary situations in which we have to make a decision. Perhaps more accurately, I am thinking about times in which one wants to make that decision. Like my 4 year old daughter in the morning choosing her underwear. There is a seriousness to this deliberation that I just don't get. Perhaps if I was more perceptive in the morning, I might notice that my wife does the same and I am simply not aware of this particular feminine proclivity. 

But I digress. 

There are decisions which we want to make, and in the past few months I have made many, rather important decisions. Such as the purchase of a restaurant for which I have intimated several times already in this blog. This is a decision that keeps me up at night. Then there are the other decision that might be considered rash, and yet their footprint is small; as delicious as the decision was, there is little to cause insomnia. In fact, such micro-scale recklessness, the small, rare moments when you just say 'fuck it' feels oh, so very good. 

The picture above alludes to such a decision. Many weeks, maybe even months before I stepped into what will become my restaurant, I bought several hundred cotton napkins. A rash decision given that I had no guarantee of anything, but I believe it was a correct decision. 

Likewise, today in the construction site that I call a restaurant, I was waiting for the gas technician to tally up the number of infractions I was facing when I really took a hard look at the wainscoting. It has been painted about seventeen times. There is literally ten millimeters of high gloss paint on there. As per my original plan, I was just going to add the eighteenth coat of paint so that I could save a few pennies to buy an adjustable-speed convection oven. 

I continued looking at that lousy wainscoting with its thick coat of paint that rendered the architecture of the space into soft butter, blunting every potential crisp edge and smothering my neat-as-a-pin vision. I couldn't take it. As soon as that gas technician left, I grabbed a crow bar, dug it into the wall and pried out a rather large panel of that wainscoting, half expecting the better part of the plaster wall to come off with it. However, it popped off cleanly only to reveal a precise little frame work of shims behind it. This meant that I could replace all that dull old millwork with something new and fresh. A decision made and a commitment that followed. Now that is an executive decision. Damn, I love this. This SO beats a corporate planning meeting.

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