Day 5: Letting a Complete Stranger Choose for Me


Sometimes it’s nice not to have to make your own decisions. Today, while standing in line for my coffee, I started to feel overwhelmed by the choices. Really, couldn’t it just be small, medium or large …and regular or decaf? I realized this was an opportunity to try something new.  I turned to the elderly gentleman behind me and confessed that I just couldn’t make up my own mind.

“Would you mind choosing my coffee for me?” I asked.

He responded–quite loudly– “EH? WHAT’S THAT MISS? NO MORE COFFEE?”

I probably should’ve approached someone who had put in his hearing aids, but once I made him understand what it was I was after, he gladly accepted the challenge.

He ordered me a “Ho Ho Mint Mocha” (more accurately, he bellowed a HO HO MINT MOCHA) but not because he’d had it before and liked it. He chose it simply, he said, “‘CAUSE I LIKE THAT CRAZY NAME.”  I ponied up the money, paid the cashier and went to the end of the counter to wait for my drink.

As I stood there, I realized it felt kinda freeing to let someone else make the decision for me.  I didn’t have to think about anything…someone else did all the mental heavy lifting.  I pondered for a second what it might be like to have a total stranger make a more significant decision for me… say, select what kind of new car to buy or where I should go on vacation.  My coffee came and I took a sip.  It was…unbelievably…DISGUSTING.  It tasted like a mixture of stale wintergreen chewing gum and Milk of Magnesia. With a splash of chocolate Ovaltine.

“WELL, HOW IS IT?” The man yelled. “DID I DO OKAY?”

“Delicious!” I said through gritted teeth. As soon as he shuffled out the door I tossed it, got back in line and ordered a medium regular coffee, room for cream.

On second thought, maybe I’ll make my own choices about cars and vacations.

It’s not taking the plunge and springing for a ticket to Iceland, but still, letting a complete stranger order for me is a first. Another day, another experience.

Each day of 2014, I’m forcing encouraging myself to have at least one new experience (and chronicling it to keep it real). If you’re interested in why–though I can’t for the life of me imagine anyone would be that bored–check out the “about” page. 


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