Olives. Just olives.


A friend of mine recently asked me to help her figure out what’s going on inside her grandson’s head.

Friend: “It’s like he gets all confused when I tell him it’s time to put away his crayons because he’s been coloring for too long and he needs to do something else.”

Me: “Why are you asking me to analyze the behavior of your 7-year-old grandson?”

Friend: “Cause you’re a Libra, too.”

Me: “In that case, I can answer your question. Not only because I’m a Libra but also because I can relate to almost all 7-year-olds.”

It’s not the first time this week that my astrological sign has been the subject of discussion. The sign of the scales, of balance and justice, plays a huge part in my real life. The characteristics of a Libra are pretty accurate. In my case, at least.

Libras are:
Diplomatic, urbane, romantic, charming, easygoing, sociable, idealistic, and peaceable.

We are also:
Indecisive, changeable, gullible, easily influenced, flirtatious, and self-indulgent.

I won’t claim to be all of those things, but I will claim to be most. There are a few others that I would like to explain, though. Namely the term indecisive. It makes us sound wishy-washy. We’re not wishy-washy. We are simply overwhelmed. Easily. Let me give you an example:

A few months ago, I found this great Italian pasta dish that I wanted to make. I had all of the necessary ingredients, except for the olives. My heart was in it…all the way (because that’s how we Librans get when we actually make a decision). It was off to the grocery store and down the condiments aisle, all the way to the back where they keep the olives.

Olives. Olives. Olives everywhere. Holy shit! Do you know how many freakin’ kinds of olives there are?!?!?!

I stood there, drooling perhaps, in awe at the enormity of my task. My brain had imploded and all abilities to rationalize had collapsed somewhere in my head when I realized I was staring into an entire galaxy of olives. And we’re not just talking name brands here, but I’m also talking variety. Oh, so much variety. Does the world really need that much variety? I know I don’t need that much variety. I only know I need olives. I couldn’t handle it. So I shifted all responsibility to the stranger next to me.

“Excuse me, um…what kind of olives should I get?”

“Well, what kind do you want?”

“I don’t know, that’s why I’m asking you. It’s for a pasta dish.”

“Oh, you can use any one of those for a pasta dish. They all have a unique flavor.”

“But I don’t want a unique flavor, I just want some olives for my pasta dish.”

“I think any one of those will work for you.”

“You’re pretty damn useless.”

Okay, I didn’t say that to her, but I wanted to. Anyway, I gave up. I quit. I went home and made my pasta dish without the olives. And it tasted like shit.

So, back to my friend.

Me: “When you tell him it’s time to do something else, do you tell him what that ‘something else’ is?”

Friend: “Oh yeah, we give him all kinds of ideas. He gets choices.”

Gah! Choices.

Me: “Yeah, we don’t do well with choices. Especially when we’re given too many choices. Don’t give us too many choices. Either give us two to pick from or just tell us what to do and, eventually, we’ll come up with other choices for ourselves and bring it up to you. No, choices are overwhelming sometimes.”

My friend realizes that I’ve hit the nail on the head, at least when it comes to her grandson. She also tells me that he’s easily frustrated because he sometimes has too much to do and can’t decide which task he wants to do first. Or that he has a difficult time transitioning from one activity to another. This I find to be very true of myself. As long as I know a transition is coming up, I can mentally prepare myself for it and, therefore, not get overwhelmed when I’m bombarded by forty different kinds of fucking olives that I was never told would appear after the transition.

*********************************************

Now just because I’ve written about being a Libra and all the traits that go along with it doesn’t mean that I believe in all of this stuff. I’ll admit, I do read my horoscope daily. It’s really just for fun, though, like the way I read TMZ or the covers of trashy magazines to find out who has the cottage-cheesiest beach thighs and how many times Liza Minelli kicked her ex-husband’s ass.

It’s just for fun.

But, no, I have never returned to buy olives.

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About Dena

I'm a suburban Clevelander by way of Oklahoma City, by way of North Florida, by way of Southern Maryland, by way of Upper Michigan, by way of Northern Italy, by way of Lower Michigan, by way of Texas. Because of living in so many places, I have something in common with almost everyone I meet. I love reading, writing, and American history (especially reading or writing about American history). I'm interested in culture of place, historical trauma, and writing about the kinds of histories most people don't know about.
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4 Responses to Olives. Just olives.

  1. Sra says:

    You could totally have an olive party where you buy dozens of olive varieties and have friends over to taste them with you. Then you will find what you like. No better way than to try.I think everyone has a difficult time with too many choices. A guy named Barry Schwartz wrote a book about that called “The Paradox of Choice: Why Less is More”. I’ve never read it myself, but I hear it’s interesting.I’m a Libra, but I don’t think I’d classify myself as many of those characteristics above. Except maybe easygoing, idealistic, and self-indulgent.

  2. Dena says:

    You know, I’ve never thought of that before. That’s a good idea.

  3. Chris says:

    I’m a libra and I can buy olives;)

  4. Geekzilla says:

    I don’t like too many choices either. That’s one reason why I don’t have cable/satellite TV. I don’t want to spend all night wondering if there might be something better to watch on some other channel. I’m satisfied with ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, CW, and PBS. Oh, and Univision!

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