I mentioned recently that Paul and I got so overwhelmed by choosing A Good Diamond, we skipped the engagement ring altogether–a decision I still regret, by the way. Today it is my job to research large freezers, and this reminds me of the diamond thing, and if you will just be patient I will say why.
We’d like to buy a big freezer because already we cram our refrigerator totally full after every grocery shopping trip, and we go through a surprising number of loaves of bread (which we like to freeze until we use them), and we like to stock up on meat when it goes on sale, and so it seems as if we are always on the verge of disaster. One day I came home with the groceries and there seriously wasn’t room to put them into the freezer, and we had to make some emergency dinner plans (menu theme: “Using as Much Stuff From the Freezer as Gastronomically Possible”) and also take all the ice cube trays out for a couple of days to make room. And this is only going to get worse as the four boys–four boys!–turn into teenagers and start eating a bag of groceries as a snack.
Another good reason to buy a big freezer is that every time I have a baby (and this happens surprisingly often, it seems), I think about how, when I come home from the hospital, my number one source of despair is food. I must eat, and yet there is nothing to eat. I want hot food, but am too tired and overwhelmed to make any. Good food improves my morale so enormously, it makes total sense to arrange for it ahead of time. So, as I say, every time I have a baby I think to myself, “You know what I should do, is before the baby is born I should make a whole bunch of single-serving containers of hearty, easy foods like chili and turkey-vegetable soup, plus a whole bunch of muffins and cookies.” But I can’t do that, because we don’t have enough freezer space.
I see I have now explained why we need a freezer, when what I meant to be explaining was what freezers had to do with engagement rings. The reason I am procrastinating on this freezer decision is that I feel like I’m going to make The Wrong Choice. I’m going to get the one that costs more money per month to run than it should, and I don’t know how many cubic feet we need and will probably get too many and that will be a waste of electricity and money, and I’ll buy a brand that isn’t the best brand to buy. And all these things cause me to hem and haw and stall on the freezer decision, just as we did on the diamond decision when we were worried we’d pay too much for a diamond that was too flawed or the wrong color or something. We worried that our ignorance (which was only compounded rather than relieved by our decision to purchase and read a book on choosing a diamond) would cause us to be suckered into a bad decision, and so we didn’t risk being suckered. And so I have no pretty-sparkly, and I don’t know how our decision could have been badder than that.
It is in these trying times that I depend on my friend Mel. I was in exactly this kind of stalling cycle when I was pregnant with twins and realized we seriously needed a minivan now, and we couldn’t really swing a new one but I was worried about buying a used one because what if we paid too much? and what if we chose the wrong make or model? and what if it turned out to have problems? and should we buy that optional warranty or is that for suckers? and are we supposed to try to talk them into coming down on the price? And I turned to my friend Mel, who said, “Listen, the reason you’re worried you’re going to get screwed is that you are going to get screwed to some extent, but you have to have a minivan, so just buy one and hope for the best.”
I can’t even say how unlikely I would have been to come up with that philosophy, and I am grateful to Mel for adding it to my Soothing Thoughts repertoire. As I understand her point of view, it’s that there are certain situations in which it is near impossible to eliminate all the bad things that could happen, but it doesn’t improve things if you wait around wringing your hands. You can go back to school for that double degree in automotive science and the art of negotiation, or you can buy the stupid used car and hope it’s not a crapmobile and that you only paid a little more than you should have.
In the case of the freezer, it helps me to realize that the things I’m worried about don’t really matter. Let’s say the one I choose costs more to run per month than the freezer I “should have” chosen. Will I even know that it does? And even if I did know, would that money make the difference between long-term happiness and long-term misery? Let’s say I choose a brand that should have been my second choice, and so the freezer doesn’t last as long as another brand’s freezer would have. I’m not going to know, and it’s not going to matter. If I get screwed a little bit on this purchase because I don’t happen to be a freezer expert, it is not a big deal. And there are millions of people all around the world who don’t give it any thought at all but instead just go into a store and choose the one they like best and don’t worry.
Oh, the sweet, sweet relief of things not mattering! I don’t have to make the perfect choice on every single point, I can just choose a freezer and move the hell on! But I still don’t know what cubic footage I need.