Sunday 1 September 2013


Louise will often send me to the store to pick up some item that is integral to the manufacture of our dinner. She will usually make a list to give me, because without the list I will end up walking the aisles wondering just what I am doing at the store. I’ll know I probably came for some kind of food stuff, but not even scratching my head will bring the memory back. I pick up a chocolate bar and head home.

Half way home, I will remember that I needed to get sour cream. I pull over and make a note for myself (no scratching my head this time) and turn back to the store. The next thing I know, I am standing in front of the dairy section staring at four shelves ten feet long of sour cream. There is a choice of 250ml, 500ml, 1KG and a tub that I can only suppose you would use if the intent was to bathe in the stuff. There were what must have been fifteen different brand names, the choice of organic, light, extra light, 7%, 5%, 1% and some stuff that didn’t seem to have a name at all.
I knew that no matter which one of the hundreds of choices I picked, I would undoubtedly be wrong. I don’t know how long I stood staring at the shelves, but eventually, a woman said “Excuse me!”, pushed in front of me grabbing a 500ml tub of 7% Foremost sour cream. If it is good enough for some rude…ish woman that I don’t know, then it will certainly be good enough for me and Louise. I was wrong of course, but only marginally so and supper turned out to be edible and I managed to avoid starving to death for one more day.

Why are there so many choices? Do we really need all of those different kinds of sour cream? The aisle where the breakfast cereal is located is 100 feet of nothing be different kinds of cereal. Each cereal seems to have options like plain, two scoops of raisins, frosted, sugar dipped, maple flavoured, pink icing, chocolate and added marshmallow treats. Do you really need to feed the kids candy first thing in the morning? If I wanted chocolate cereal when I was a kid, I would put some NestlĂ©’s quick in the milk. My big thrill when I was a kid was being able to turn one of those single serving boxes into a bowl and eating cornflakes in front of the TV watching cartoons.
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Louise and I decided to go to Peter’s Drive In and get milk shakes last night. Neither one of us needed the extra 750 calories, but sometimes it isn’t about what you want, but what you need. Peter’s has been in business of selling Calgarians hamburgers, hot dogs, french fries, ice cream and the very best milk shakes that money can buy since 1962. It is an institution and deserves a blog all by itself. It’s always crowded and justifiably so. They have thirty different flavours for the milk shakes and from what I have heard, people are rarely disappointed. When we got to the speaker and that tinny voice asked us what we would like, I ordered a cherry-banana for Louise and a vanilla shake for myself. Louise looked at me with a disgusted look and I knew what she would say before she said it. “With all of these choices, why would you order vanilla? Was strawberry too daring for you?” She turned away, shaking her head and wondering about a choice she made 38 years ago.

From the first sip to the last, I revelled in the taste of that shake. It was wonderful and incidentally, it is the line that I draw in my war on choices. I’m losing the war on too many fronts, but I remain true to myself and the basics of life. We don’t need a thousand mediocre choices; we just need a handful of really good ones. I’ll continue to enjoy my vanilla shakes and if I choose, maybe I will add a little NestlĂ©’s chocolate syrup to it when I get home.

Nahhh…that’s stupid!

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