I get anxious allot. In fact, I feel anxious most of the time. Even right now. I was in my late twenties when it started, it is the reason I no longer watch the news. I just can’t.
My wife bombards me with daily updates on the state of the world. It begins with one of those “Did you hear…?” questions, that she knows I did not hear. But it makes her feel important, so I indulge her, despite my angst. The other day, as I walked in the door, I was greeted with “Did you hear who died today?”, and then silence, as if I would need some time to take an educated guess. And so, after careful thought, I offered “Big Bird”. Quite upset at my childish response, my wife asked if I could take anything seriously. “I hope not.”, I told her.
It seemed that Florence Henderson had died. I had assumed that she had passed away many years earlier. My wife was actually quite saddened by the news, and I told her it was, indeed, sad news. I, however, didn’t really care. Death is the most anxiety provoking thought I have. It reinforces my immortality and, as I get older, the certainty that I too will share this fate with the talented Florence Henderson. Sometimes it keeps me up at night.
Many years ago I spent some time with a Dr. Twatwaffle, dressed in a tweed jacket, patches on the elbows, and a black turtleneck. We came to no resolution. I disliked the man, and I particularly found his attire quite anxiety provoking.
“Did you know. Stephen Hawking predicts the planet will be uninhabitable in 1,000 years?”, my wife states with some exuberance. “Do you know how much money we could save if we got rid of the cable, changed our cell phone plans, stopped eating out, and lived on a very strict budget?” Feeling like my head is going to implode, I tell her we need to talk. I remind her, once again, that I don’t want to know. I cannot fix the problems, bring back the dead, or live like a hermit. I just want some peace and quiet. “Why can’t we talk about other things?”, I asked.
“Do you want to talk about the kids?”, she queries.
I reach for the jar of Lorazepam, and prepare myself for the upcoming deluge of things I don’t want to know about. She looks at me, puts her arm around me, and kisses me on the cheek. “Never mind.”, she says, “I’ll take care of it.”
“You know”, she adds, “the light is out in the kitchen, and the toilet is clogged….”. Before she can finish the sentence, I let her know that I am on it. I get up, and she reminds me just how much she loves me. Instantly, the universe settles, and the anxiety dissipates.
“We’re having goulash for dinner”, she advises. I despise goulash. I turn to look at her, and it really doesn’t matter. The world remains as it should. I will eat the goulash, and forever remember that this is just how it should be.