I don’t know if I can continue watching CNN. It’s my favorite news channel and I have it on all the time, but lately it’s causing me to experience spontaneous hysterical neurosis at least twice daily and I simply don’t have time for that nonsense. And wow, was that a mouthful or what?
Anyway, I don’t do anything spontaneously unless I can plan it in advance and as it stands right now, I don’t have an opening for another episode of raving lunacy until late next week, at the earliest.
I know the economy blows right now – I don’t need Wolf Blitzer reminding me every 83 seconds. Isn’t there a law against delivering the same bad news repeatedly, employing the same adjectives ad nauseam, in a mind numbing monotone, all while shifting your weight from one foot to the other every fifteen seconds? There should be. Who do I write to about that?
I am perfectly capable of freaking myself out on a daily basis and have been mistaken for a high strung chihuahua strung out on meth at one time or another so I don’t need a news anchor with the charisma of a doped up basset hound to constantly remind me how much the world sucks right now. If I hear him interrupt his guests so that he can interject the word “dire” one more time, I will jump into my TV screen, trample over the best political team on television and gladly box his ears, so help me God.
Maybe I’ll get lucky and run into Anderson Cooper on the set. Don’t you worry Anderson, you can tell me the economy is shitty every 83 seconds, anytime you want. Okay? Call me.
I admit it. I am a worry junkie. I seem to thrive on it. This comes as no surprise to anyone. I absolutely must worry about something and if I can’t find anything to worry about, that in and of itself is cause enough to panic.
I wish I could say that I haven’t always been that way, but that would be a lie and I don’t lie unless I think I can get away with it and anyone who knows me would call me on that whopper before I finish typing this sentence.
I think it stems from my birth. I had to share a womb with my brother and that caused me to worry that he would hog up all the room, which he did. Then I agonized about being overdue because even back then, I had a serious aversion to being late and I fretted about everything I was missing out on, all because Mom’s uterus didn’t have the common courtesy to be punctual. Then Tino decided he had had enough and he budged me and was pulled out first, leaving me to just sit there twiddling my tiny thumbs and waiting. When I was certain they had forgotten about me, I called out in despair “Hellllooooooo?” at which time the doctor pulled me out and I looked at him sternly and hollered “WAAAAAAHHHH” which, loosely translated, meant “What the hell took you so long? Are you a real doctor? Where’d you go to medical school? Can I see your diploma?” He took one look at me, pronounced me “tense” and sent me directly to the neonatal unit where I worried every ten minutes that someone would forget to come by and take me home.
Then there was the incident when Tino and I were little and he accidentally threw a boulder against my head and I stood there, crying, worrying if Mom would hear my howls before I bled out and ruined the grass.
And who could forget the time I flew to San Francisco by myself to visit my sister Elaine and had an unexpected visit from Aunt Flo while wearing white linen pants? I was forced to wrap my jacket around my waist and stand with my back to the corner in the airport while waiting for Elaine who was notoriously late which sucked because my flight had been twenty minutes early. I was drowning in stress sweat, worrying that (1) the toilet paper I had jammed into my underwear wasn’t up to the job; (2) Elaine had forgotten about me; (3) my luggage with my extra pair of pants was on route to Africa; and (4) holy mother of God, was that a drip?
There have been so many instances of frantic, panicked worry, both justified and groundless, throughout my forty-one years that there isn’t enough time left in my life to recount them all. Whew, right? Just suffice it to say that over the years, I have elevated the practice of worrying to an art form. My tombstone shall read “Here lies Andrea Chamberlain. Are you sure she’s dead? You checked? Twice? Are you sure?”
Luckily, my kids have not inherited my propensity to obsess. Actually, they haven’t inherited anything from me except astigmatism. How fair is that? Regardless, Helena’s only worry lately is that her ponytails were crooked this morning (I was finding it difficult to see over the yawn that was permanently affixed to my face) and Zoe’s only concern for the last year has been getting a Verizon phone with unlimited texting (don’t hold your breath, Zoe. Seriously. Stop it already. I’m a little fuzzy on my CPR so don’t come running to me if you pass out.)
Sometimes I don’t know how Nate can tolerate me and my anxiety, especially during this economic fiasco. Every single day, he comes home from work and I casually ask him “How was work?” and he responds “Fine” and I want to believe him, I truly do. But I can’t help myself from searching his face for any indication that his company went belly up within the past ten hours during which he was laid off, all of it coming on the heels of being diagnosed with a debilitating disease which will no longer be covered under our non-existent health insurance and which will surely bankrupt us in four months.
He can see the uncertainty in my face and he’ll repeat his answer of “Fine” until I’m convinced he’s being sincere and I’ll start to breathe again. This will last about a nanosecond and then I will immediately worry that he’s merely placating me because he doesn’t want to freak me out by going all Jack Nicholson on me and screaming YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH.
Feel free to send any sympathy cards to my attention and I’ll make sure to forward them to him.
Lately, Nate has tried a different approach with me because he knows that a simple “fine” is insufficient to stem the tidal wave of unfounded panic greeting him at the door in a t-shirt and flip flops. Now he comes in and without hesitation, walks right up to me, places his hands on my shoulders and repeats three times “I am not unemployed, I am not diseased, I am not dead,” at which point I smile and drop some spaghetti onto his plate.
I think I am physically incapable of unwinding. I simply don’t know how to relax, unless I mainline some muscle relaxtants and even then, my subconscious sleeps with one eye open, simply biding its time before screaming at the top of its lungs for my body to WAKE UP! YOU HAVEN’T WORRIED IN TEN MINUTES! OH MY GOD, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?
My doctor is very well aware that the only thing about my body that can be considered taut are my nerves and he suggested going the pharmaceutical route to take the edge off. When I balked at the suggestion, he assured me that I would not become a drug addict and wind up in restraints at some rehab clinic, that my inclination to worry and obsess, coupled with the fact that I am premenopausal, suggested that a mild anti depressant was warranted. Oh, that’s right. Premenopause. How could I have forgotten? Wonderful! Now I will busy myself by obsessing over my decaying reproductive organs and whether I should have them surgically removed or simply wait for them to fall out of me on their own accord. I’ll cover my hardwoods with a drop cloth, just in case.
As much as I love my doctor and trust his instincts, I declined the prescription because I hate taking medication. However, I just might find that I hate the compulsion to worry over the economy and the war and my family’s welfare even more, so I won’t completely shut the door on the possibility of drug intervention. If it allows me to spend more time enjoying life than obsessing over it, and stops me from jumping through expensive electronics and committing battery upon famous, boring people with irritating facial hair, it just might be the best course of action. For everyone involved.
In the meantime, however, I’m going to prescribe myself a good kick in Wolf’s ass, even if it is just in theory. That should make me feel a little bit better about the economy and then I can get back to digging up my back yard and burying jars filled with money.
Don’t worry, Anderson. Your ass is safe with me. Call me.