Decision Snowball: Do even the small decisions in our lives affect the larger ones?
Decide. A fictional short story based on something near reality.
“If I do this there is no turning back,” Charlie said.
“I know you know, but I’m saying it out loud to remind me of the consequences.”
“That’s a good idea,” Tabitha said.
“It’s easy for you to be so casual about all of this because you’re already there.”
“I realize that.”
“Can you make the decision any easier for me?”
“I would if I could but I can’t.”
“You can’t or you won’t?”
“I can’t, but I would.”
“So,” Charlie said.
“Yeah,” she exhaled. “So.”
“Here we are.”
“Here we are.
“Where to next?” Charlie asked, mostly stalling for time, delaying the time when he would have to do it, the moment he would have to change from what was to what will be.
Not just would be or might be but could be, but will be.
By definition, making up his mind at this moment, or rather, changing his mind at this time, was making the decision.
“I’ll do it,” he said in something of a whisper. As we all know, most things said in a whisper hold more weight.
It’s like a sniper in the heat and chaos of battle. A wink from a secretive someone of great power. That wad of bills, slipped silently from one had to the other to get you over the border even though your tourist visa had expired.
It’s that moment when you know you made it from one place to the next. From a place you might never be again to a place you’ve never been before. Something in your DNA changes. Cells merge, others are formed and grow. Your blood changes directions, maybe something like when you cross the equator and the earth is spinning the other way—or at least the direction of the toilet bowl water.
“I knew you would do it,” she said.
He was going to let the comment go, but couldn’t. “How did you know?” He looked at her. “I mean, seriously, step by step, how did you know I would do it? How does anyone know anyone else is going to do anything?”
“I … “ she started but he interrupted her.
“And don’t say ‘I just knew,’ that doesn’t count and it doesn’t help me.”
She smiled. It was exactly what she was going to say. Now she would have to think about it.
“You might not like this explanation either,” she started.
“You’re not the same person as you were before you said you’d do it.”
“That makes no sense.”
“From where I’m standing, it makes all the sense, the only sense.”
“Where are you standing?”
“Right in front of you.”
He gave in and smiled.
“I can’t win,” he said.
“You already won.”
He tweaked his head in a show he didn’t understand what she meant.
“You won when you made the decision to decide.”
“I don’t understand.”
“You will,” she paused. “You are a different person than the guy before changing your mind.”
“I didn’t change my mind, I just decided to, well, make a decision.”
“That sounds like a mind changing if you ask me.”
He didn’t know what to say. She kept going.
“Your mind was one way before you decided and now it’s another way. You changed your mind, you altered it, it was one way and now it’s another way. That’s a change. It’s a change of mind. You made a decision, you changed your mind.”
He couldn’t fight it, he could no longer deny because, well, she was right. Or at least it sounded logical what she was saying. He made the decision and that changed his direction, his trajectory, changed his mind.
Brain cells were altered.
Minds were changed.
He had made a decision.
* * *
What do you think Charlie’s decision was? Was it:
- To quit his job and pursue the new career he had been longing for all of these years?
- To divorce his wife and run away with Tabitha and live in Barcelona?
- To commit to no alcohol for a month.
- To turn left at the fork in the road ahead.
- To decide to decide.
Or was it something else?
Do even the small decisions in our lives affect the larger ones? Is it a snowball effect?