Nomological Net

Stray thoughts from here and there. The occasional concern for construct validity. No more logic. Fish.


faults in the clouds of delusion

Monday, February 06, 2006

Bait or switch? More fish.

Funny how these things happen. Of course, it's not as if there's some cosmic coincidence, it's just that having talked about it so recently just cast a subsequent event in a similar light. I guess this variety-seeking / optimal stimulation level theme is playing on my mind. (Pity that the PhD class doesn't get to the variety-seeking session until late March or so.)

Three hours in class, plus one hour wasted in desolate office hour solitude, and some forty-odd minutes back home watching the Pakistanis make tangri kababs of our bowling meant that I was pretty far gone by the time I tore myself away from the carnage and off to the local mall for the semi-weekly provision-stocking. En route, got overtaken by the urge for some Japanese dinner -- new restaurant and all. Waddled my way to said bistro, and, without thinking, elbowed through the swarming hordes to the girl at the entrance. She gave me a ticket that said A-31. There were three queues, A, B, and C. My nascent Cantonese told me, when the girl next spoke into her mike, that the current position was at A-17. "Aaaay-sup-chhat."

I could have walked away right there. Fourteen places weren't going to go vacant in a hurry, not at peak hour. My brain was dead, my legs were hurting, I had groceries to hang on to, it was crowded, and I had to get back and get to work, but no. I stuck it out.

Several times during the next 45 minutes and more, I asked myself -- why do I not leave? One part of me said -- inertia, or, sunk cost fallacy, one of the two. Another part was too tired to care. Around 8:30, I realized that by all rights I should have been back in office with a nice little bellyful by now. But no. I stuck it out.

Eventually, of course, I did get in. I stuck it out as the woman counted through the A-20s, and accompanying B's and C's. My muscles tensed up as she came to A-30, all set to spring forth when she called my number, and win friends and influence people with my amazing linguistic ability. But the woman was too smart. She'd remembered that this gweilo was A-31, and she had no inclination to let there be any misunderstanding. When my turn came, she didn't even call out the number, but headed straight for me. Deadly eye contact. No mistake.

Half an hour later, I walked out sated to the gills with a salmon hot pot with some yummy scallop sashimi on the side, all washed down with a little hot sake and some Japanese green tea that to my untrained eyes was nothing but brown. But all said and done, now I'm wondering -- why did I wait there for so long? What would Shantaram have done?


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