Something needs to be explained. Well probably more than just one something, there are undoubtedly many things that need to be explained. I digressed, sorry about that. Let me explain the something I am explaining (is it me or did that sentence end up being a little meta ?) I am indecisive. To the point where I need pro vs. con lists to make decisions. I viscerally, down to the hairs on the back of my neck, hate making decisions which exclude a choice. I have the Robert Frost-induced phobia of ‘the road not taken’ which leads to indecision and no road being taken at all. For those with a life, or those who don’t like rhyming prose, Frost wrote a poem circa 1920-ish called ‘The Road Not Taken’, it is about 4 or 5 verses long and contains the starting phrase
‘Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And being one traveler, long I stood.
If this weren’t enough to tell you he had the same choice conundrum, then I’m not sure what else would. Oh, wait, the last line. Which goes:
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Really I think this guy taps in to my fears and hopes. Problem is, before stepping onto whatever road you eventually choose you seldom know if it will be the road less traveled. All this to say, I sometimes flip a coin, roll dice, or eeny-meeny my life choices.
The modern world has begun to cater to my strange need for direction such as Pandora, or Stereo Mood, two sites which, based on previous song choices, attempt to play music you would like to hear without you making a conscious choice. In Stereo Mood’s case, the mood you typed in also has a big impact on what music plays, although they do confuse mood/actions/events, I mean when was the last time your mood was ‘candlelit dinner’ or ‘running alone’. Those aren’t moods people!!!!!!!!
Now I don’t see these as actively negative, sure sometimes it sucks being your own DJ, especially when you just skipped the last 18 songs because your playlist is limited by your imagination and download capacity. And here comes the but, BUT they are hampering my abilities to function. As a decision-o-phobe, I believe I need to face my fear and make decisions on a regular basis so that when big decisions appear I can handle them better. It’s why I got to coffee shops, because they are going to ask me about twenty questions before I can have anything. And the stressed out dude in the power suit is going to sigh that exasperated sigh eight to twelve times if I don’t make all the decisions in the next 4.5 seconds. What follows is a brief rendition of what I believe I am like when ordering coffee (as you may now realise, I like writing scripts):
Me: Hi there! I would like to purchase a coffee!
Barista Bob: We have 24 varieties of scrumdiddly-umptious coffee for you to enjoy today, would you like Arabica or Robusta?
Me: I thought you said 24, I may not be numerically capable beyond single digits but I know how many two is, and that was it!
Barista Bob: Indeedy we do have 24 varieties but those are the two sorts of coffee that exist globally and we have 24 sub-varieties, m’kay?
Me: Okay, Bob I’ll have Arabica!
Barista Bob: Okidokily, so you’re choices today are; JamaicanBlue, Java, Arusha, BlueMountain,MundoNovo, Kona, Panama, Sumatra, Colombian, EthiopiaHarar, EthiopianSidamo ooooooooooooooooorrrrrrrrrr Caturra?
Me: Sweet Jesus, breathe man, for the love of God BREATHE!!
Barista Bob: So what’ll it be?
Me: Er….. I guess the one which is not a country.
Barista Bob: ArushaBlueMountainMundoNovoKonaCaturra?
Me: Jeebus really? still so many??? Okay… um… Kona?
Barista Bob: Great choice!
Barista Bob: So would you like that in piccolino, demi, short, tall, grande, venti, trenta, or gigantor?
Me: What’s enough to get me to lunch?
Barista Bob: Judging by your haggard expression and grey countenance I would suggest the gigantor to be most in keeping with your lifestyle and choices, m’kay?
Me: Right back ‘atcha, Bobbo.
Barista Bob: Would you like cream, or milk? We have double cream, single cream, fake cream made of turkey, full-fat milk, half -fat milk, soy milk and breast milk.
Me: Wait, what? Is that even legal?
Barista Bob: Indeedly-do it is!
Me: I think I’ll just have it black.
Barista Bob: Okidokily, what kind of syrup we have—
Me: No syrup!!!!
Barista Bob: Drink in or takeaway?
Me: Take-away, your free wi-fi doesn’t make up for your overpriced beverages, no matter how tasty they are. Also I only came here because you muscled out the old lady’s place I used to get my coffee. you gutless piece of corporate detritus.
Barista Bob: That’s what everybody tells us. Now would you like a muffin too?
Me: Watcha’ got?
Barista Bob: WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELLLL we have—
Me: WAIT!!! NO!!! I changed my mind, just the coffee to go!
Barista Bob: Kay-diddly-ay!! So one Kona Gigantor no milk or cream, no syrup, to take away. That’ll be $25.
See these places force me to make a bajillion miniature decisions that I have no real capacity to judge pro or con. They just make me make snap decisions based on nothing. Which, I hope, aids me to make the bigger decisions with a little more ease.
The reason I brought this up is because today I saw something that made me shudder, because it takes away the whole ‘forced to make unimportant decision’ process. It it this: http://drinkify.org/ That URL takes you to a website and its downloadable App. Which makes decisions about what you should drink based on what you are listening to, which was probably chosen by Pandora! A program will choose the music you listen to so you don’t have to, while based upon that decision no longer in your hands, another decision will be made based on that decision by another program. You won’t choose what you’re mentally or physically ingesting!
THE ROBOT UPRISING IS HERE AND ITS TELLING YOU TO MAKE MEANINGLESS DECISIONS!!!!!
It is all undoubtedly part of some larger network that the robots are prepping us for, auto-tune is to make us unafraid of robotic voices, those creepy Japanese ladybots to make us think they are benign and want to give us tea. Rosie from the Jetsons is blatantly a secret Decepticon who turns into a trash compactor! R2D2, obviously the cutesy paragon of robot goodness until he suction cups your eyes out because it turns out he was a retrofitted Dalek!!! (those are very geeky references, if you got them kudos, if you didn’t they are super funny so you should Google the key words).
So, I beg of you, go out, and make a decision, before the robots take our ability to make irredeemably stupid choices away from us. As humans, our ability to make bad choices and learn from them is part of what makes us grow, so go. Go. Choose something. Even the simplest choice is an action, so when someone asks you what you did to stop the robot uprising you can tell them you had an extra slice of pecan pie!