I’m a huge Warren Zevon fan. Most people know him for Werewolves of London – a song I love immensely. But he’s got way better stuff than that. His songs are mostly about sitting night after night in the same barroom, taking too many drugs in Mexico, losing your truck, and the feeling of trying to peel your head off the bar long enough to try to sleep with the waitress. But they’re also about finding redemption in love, not taking yourself too seriously, and coming to terms with your own mortality. Zevon died from lung cancer in 2003, but a couple of months before his death he gave his last performance on The Late Show With David Letterman. In his interview, Letterman asked him whether his condition had taught him anything about life. Without missing a beat, he answered “How much you’re supposed to enjoy every sandwich.” I re-watch it every once in awhile and it’s a good reminder.
I don’t think I’m a particularly indecisive person. But ask me if I want Thai or Indian food for dinner and nine times out of ten I will say wow, I love both, either one will make me extremely happy. And that’s true. I would be very satisfied having either one. But choices need to be made, and while it’s ok to say that I like both equally, so let’s flip a coin, sometimes it’s better to just say I want some damn pad Thai, and I want it now. Right? I almost never just say I want some pad Thai.
Side note: Here’s a funny story about my ex. He used to never want to get Thai OR Indian food for dinner, which was absurd when we lived in Manhattan and we ordered takeout 75% of the time. He said that both cuisines left him feeling hungry afterwards. He said that neither was enough food for him. Which is basically the most maddeningly insane argument against Thai and Indian food on the planet. I probably should have gotten out the tarp and shovel long ago for that alone, but it’s much easier now to see how he spoiled so many things with his ridiculous argumentativeness and his relentless negativity. But at the time I didn’t see it that way, and I excused it as an amusing personality quirk. He’s just too hungry all the time to enjoy saag paneer.
I’m not always indecisive. I don’t struggle with which paint color to pick, or which couch to buy, or which candy to get while waiting in line at Target (Reese’s Pieces, bitches). I haven’t overthought my career choices. I’m decisive as hell when it comes to parenting my kids (bedtime is routine and early, screens are monitored, books are every day). But I waffle on my choices when other people are involved. Ask me should where we should go for vacation together? Should we go to a movie or stay in? Red or white with dinner? Suddenly everything sounds great to me, and I can’t choose to save my life.
The stupid and selfish mistake I have made is that I have told myself that this brand of indecisiveness is born out of some kind of selflessness. That I’m being nice. If you offer me a choice that I truly dislike, I will say no. But a choice between two equally appealing options? I have believed that I’m being kind by letting the other person choose. But that was a mistake.
And not just because it always unfairly puts the onus on the other person to be in charge of decision-making. I also have been shitty to myself. By refusing to make choices when other people are involved, I’ve settled into a pattern where I often don’t get what I actually desire. I’ve lived my life to some degree saying it doesn’t matter what I want, and as a result I haven’t loved a lot of what I have wound up with. No fucking brainer.
I’m nearly a year and a half into this battle royale with my ex, and with the courts being closed and backed up due to COVID, a resolution may still be far off for us. What scares me is that I think it’s very possible that my ex is absolutely fine with that. He was never worried about time the way that I was. I’m anxious constantly that there isn’t enough time to get to half of what I want to do – in daily life and in the larger sense – but my ex never seemed to worry about time passing him by. He was content to sit around and wait, and do nothing. And I’m afraid that may well be the case with this divorce.
But here’s the thing. If he refuses to settle this and let me finally be divorced once and for all, I think I have to make a choice. And in this case I think my choice is to give up the fight.
I’m thinking it’s time to fold.
He has caused an incalculable amount of destruction and havoc in my life. I haven’t even written about most of the worst of it, because I’m afraid. But I think I just can’t do it anymore. I don’t want to do it anymore. You can’t negotiate with the devil, and I’m tired of trying. I’m not sure how this will go, or what this will look like, but I just need this to be over now, no matter the cost.
I think I’m choosing me. I hope I’m not wrong.
Ps. If I ever had a daughter, I wanted to name her Tule after this Warren Zevon song. Probably for the best that I had two boys.
And don’t forget to listen to The D-Train, The Playlist, a soundtrack for a shit show.