Last weekend, we paid a visit to my in-laws who live in a German city about six or seven hundred kilometers away from Berlin. We had a great time, over-eating, over-drinking, catching the new Bond movie, and an exhibition called the “Birth of Photography” where among other works we clapped eyes on the world’s first photograph. In case you are wondering, this was taken in 1826 by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce, Frenchman and inventor. The exhibition is largely based on the private collection of Helmut Gernsheim – an enthusiast and “pioneer” who hunted down Niépce’s heliograph “View from the Window at Le Gras” with Ahab’s single-minded determination in pursuing his whale. Excellent assortment of old and new, classic and experimental, spanning a variety of genres, subjects and techniques. We particularly liked the Victorian hidden-camera section.
With my birthday coming up soon, we gang-pressed Mr. B’s parents in going with us to one of our favourite Greek restaurants for a celebratory dinner. It is one of those places where the food is good, and the service is very (too?) friendly. We were greeted with the usual smile, the more unusual “how are you?” and a complimentary handshake by the lady who we assume owns the place. All good and well, although I could bet Hans’s wages that she doesn’t have a photographic memory and does not, in fact, remember us as Stammkunden. The problem though, came later, after we finished our dinner, and were about to go, and Mr. B spotted this gorgeous young black Labrador sitting practically next to our table (I mean on the floor, obviously). So he made friends and since it seemed like a lovely and nice dog, I wanted to do that next, so I let it sniffle my hand, and nudge me with her cold nose, and then petted her for a few minutes, to our mutual delight. Once satisfied, I turned around, and noticed our waiter kind of lurking by, so I said good-bye, at which point he smiled and… extended his hand.
The phrase “agony of indecision” suddenly made perfect sense to me. I lived a second of unhappy wavering that seemed an eternity, and I could almost sense my neurons sparking off conflicting messages.
“DON’T SHAKE” -> “appear rude” -> NOT if “you explain you petted the dog” -> WHICH takes some time -> “want to go to the trouble?”
“SHAKE” -> “friendly” -> BUT “might give germs / dog hairs” -> “what if he touches food directly” -> and gives customers tummy aches -> SHOULD explain -> WHICH takes some time -> “want to go to the trouble?”
-> “friendly” -> smile and keep quiet -> can go home quickly!
(do imagine all this in a neat matrix with proper arrows and signs and stuff)
All of this seemed to pass through my head in about half a second (exhibit 1 in the case why the question “do you ever feel like you have no thoughts in your brain?” should translate into “do you ever feel like you have too many thoughts in your brain?” when speaking about Baddie)
Well? what would you do?