I am not at the Barter Fair. But I almost was. In fact, I came this close to going. It was a Difficult Decision. What I mean by that is that at first I wasn’t going to go, then last weekend I started thinking, no, I really might want to go, and then I started making plans to go, and by Thursday all I had to do was figure out how I was going to get there, and then: indecision. Because suddenly, I wasn’t sure. Maybe it was a bad night’s sleep, or my hesitations about craigslist rideshare, or the fact that if I drove, which it was looking like I was going to have to, I wouldn’t get to ride back in the Dude Van with a certain sexy man and his friends. And suddenly, I found myself sabotaging my own plans.
I posted on craigslist about a ride and did not call people back when they responded.
I went to the grocery store, and did not buy food for the weekend.
When I did call people back, I was vague and non-commital.
I sighed. I spoke in long rushes of emotion. I cried like I was two.
Writing this, it seems obvious that on some level I already knew what I wanted to do. But it took an entire day of angsty angst for that to wiggle its way to the surface. For those of you who have not witnessed my ability to turn a decision into an operatic drama, well, I’ll just say that from my vantage point inside it, it’s like one long piercing soprano shriek with some pitching around and fainting and at least a couple of stabbing-and-staggering-around scenes. And, after many plot twists, the ending can be rather predictable. Not to mention welcome.
On top of it all, I often begin to beat myself up about how difficult it can be to know my own mind.
“This my least favorite thing about myself,” I sighed at some point on Thursday afternoon, when I was ostensibly making applesauce with my mom, but really was sighing and answering my telephone only to put people off with vague promises about “knowing soon.”
“It’s not my least favorite thing about you,” said my mom. “The worst thing about you is when you’re mean.” This is what moms do well: put things in perspective.
By the time I had decided, I had pretty much run out of time to pack, had I decided to go, and I had worn myself out emoting. Yet in the end, the decision was about more than how I would spend my weekend. Difficult Decisions are always symbolic. This one revealed larger worries, longings, and needs in myself, and while there are probably ways to learn that information without raking oneself over the coals, my method got the job done. I do feel sad not to be there. But I guess if this brought to the surface a bunch of things that could have spewed out unconsidered in the middle of the fair, that’s good. Because as my mom noted, its worse when I’m mean.
But dude if I could have just been in the van, I would have been there.