Fearful or jaded? When life is an unfunny Woody Allen script
I worry a lot.
I want to lower my car insurance, even though, knock on wood, it's pretty freakin' low already. But I'm afraid if I get the Progressive plug-in camera to monitor my driving, they'll catch me picking my nose. Car driving is sacred nose-picking time, and I don't want my car insurance company to lose respect for me.
I worry that if I touch a door handle with my hand, I will develop Leprosy, so I open the door with my sleeve. If a sleeve is not available, I use a foot, which means I'm probably spreading more germs onto the door handle than anyone else because it's the same foot I use to flush the toilet.
Every single email or editorial I write, I fear that I will have a literary blackout in the middle, write something completely inappropriate and offensive for no reason and not realize it until after I've hit send. Because of this I spend roughly one hour per 100 words I write, dissecting every conceivable way my sentences could be interpreted.
I sit on a towel in my car ever since someone broke into over 12 months ago; I pretty much mentally prepare myself to receive the news that a loved one has died in a plane crash every singletime they fly; I'm convinced that a plane toilet will crash into my house; I view the GOP candidates as a sign that the world is coming to an end; and I'm 100 percent certain that every time I have a headache, I'm about to have a stroke.
I'm really really good at worrying. If it were a full-time gig, I'd probably be someone kind of special.
Worrying is something that has traveled down from generation to generation in my family. I come from a lineage of Jews and we're pretty rockstar at a couple of things: 1.) worrying ourselves into a perpetual state of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (luckily I warded this off...for now); and 2.) giving the silent treatment (I also went to therapy to beat this one out of my system).
Even though I manage my worrisome state better than, say, my grandmother, who won't sleep when my mother's Jack Russell Terrier a.k.a. The Animal That Has Replaced Me In the Eyes of My Family, has a cough or if my mother is going out of town...four months down the road. As she's grown older, her behavior has gotten more comical and frustrating, with my mother making the conscious mid-life decision not to be that way.
Though my mother did once call the Austin police from her home in New York State to have them come check on me simply because she hadn't been able to reach me for one 20-hour period, she has definitely gotten better with not giving in to her overactive imagination. I, on the other hand, have to deal with the anxiety every night that someone is going to come into the house with a machete, machine gun, thumbscrew and cattle prod and torture the living eff out of me.
This fear is not completely unfounded since shady stuff happens in my neighborhood on a semi-regular basis and I happen to magnify that into a what could possibly be the beginning of Straw Dogs, every night, for me.
I try not to worry and more importantly, I try not to share that I worry so much with the people in my life who aren't my mother or grandmother. With them, we can all get on the phone and talk about how we hope we never get a debilitating disease or whether the world's water supply is going to run out, but with others, I try to keep a calm exterior.
Talking with my family is like living a unfunny Woody Allen script. Instead of over-analyzed anecdotes about trips to arthouse theaters or The Hamptons, they're stories of frustrated trips to Wal-Mart or the grocery store when coupons weren't honored or an employee was annoyingly apathetic.
With other people in my life, I try to hide that I'm convinced we're all about to be struck by a meteor as we sit enjoying lunch or a cocktail. It's hard sometimes.
I've found that worrying really doesn't do any good. Worrying doesn't magically prevent anything from happening or make anything better. Though I remind myself of this and have had success stories at various times in my adult life, as I get older, the sneaking realization that: a.) human beings are capable of some pretty scary sh*t; and b) we're not all immortal, leads me to many a "OH MY GOD! WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!" moments in the middle of the night.
As I also approach an age where peers are marrying and having children, I wonder how they could possibly not be in a perpetual state of frayed nerves every moment their infant, toddler, child takes a step. Even when I hold someone else's child, I grip them like I were carryingreplacement kidneys for the President. Babies are just so tiny and delicate and could easily slip down a drain.
I still have a long ways to go in managing my worries. Maybe one day I'll go from fearful to jaded. Or maybe I'll discover why everyone drinks at the end of the day.