Monday, August 16, 2021

Worrying

By Madeleine Kando

It’s really hard to be me. I slept for four hours and woke up wondering what came over me when I bought a $100 bathing suit. I am on Maui, and I see all these fancy bathing suits prance about on the beach, so I figured I need one too, instead of looking like a blue sausage in my racing suit.


I saw one on a mannequin at the mall across our condo and I was sure it would make me look like a film star, but when I came home and put it on, I looked more like a flower pot with arms and legs.

So, I couldn’t sleep the rest of the night. But that was just the tip of the iceberg. There is no stopping it, once I get the worrying bug. It’s like a virus, infecting every nook and cranny of my already neurotic mind. I worry about my daughter back home, about spending too much money, about the bags under my eyes from not sleeping because I worry about not sleeping.
 
Why some people don’t worry is a mystery to me. There must be something seriously wrong with them. People like that let the worriers do all the worrying for them. They get a free ride in this valley of tears, going about their business happy as clams, while us worriers do all the heavy lifting, leading us to an early grave.

They will say stupid things, like: ‘worrying does not do anything. It’s a useless, self-destructive habit.’ But they don’t really know, do they? Since they never worry. It’s like saying: ‘I know what it’s like to be poor. My grandfather was poor. He told me all about it’.

Or they will parrot a famous comedian’s quote: “Worrying is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but never gets you anywhere.” I respectfully beg to differ: I have done my best thinking in a rocking chair.

Even though it will be the end of me, I find worrying actually productive. Without worrying, my life would be a series of impulsive, wanton, uncontrolled urges. I wouldn’t worry about being at the airport on time, getting sneezed on by passers-by, pass wind in public or pay my bills on time.

If I didn’t worry whether I left the stove on before leaving the house, I might come home and find a heap of ashes instead of my beautiful house. And I would think to myself: ‘Why the fuck didn’t I worry about having left the stove on?’

My husband has this incomprehensible ability to not worry. When I reach the depths of one of my worrying bouts, I ask him: ‘Don’t you worry about me worrying so much?’Of course, I do’, he says. The next second he is snoring away, blissfully sleeping his worriless sleep. The next day he asks me if I slept well. It’s like asking a legless man if he had a good walk.

Today we are going to the top of the volcano Haleakala. I see it from my porch as I am typing, enveloped in clouds, looking down on the thousands of tourists scurrying about in the hundreds of resorts on the coast. My daughter Aniko is our designated captain. She has planned everything and has assigned duties for every member of our troupe. She is a take charge person if you ever saw one. She is the oil that greases the wheels of our adventure.

We will drive to the summit at 10,000 feet, hike the Singing Sands trail and watch the sunset from above the clouds. A perfect scenario for worrying. I worry that I will be too tired to hike, that there won’t be a bathroom, that my shoes will hurt or that my phone will die before I can take the memorable pictures to prove that I hiked on a famous Haleakala trail.

My husband knows he can rely on me to do the worrying for both of us. I see him read the news, enjoy the view from our lanai (Hawaiian for porch), listen to his favorite music right to the moment that we pack the car with all the stuff that I worry we should need on our trip to the volcano. It is only when he realizes that we forgot to pack water that he says: ‘why didn’t you think of packing water?’, like I am the only responsible adult around.

You see, worriers are the adults in this world. The free-riders are children disguised as adults. Like children, they try to get by with as little worrying as possible. ‘But they are the wise ones’, I hear you say. Yeah, right. That’s only because they know they can afford it, that mommy and daddy will do the worrying for them.

The other big advantage of worrying is that you expect the worst from life. Us worriers brace ourselves and are not prone to having a heart attack when we hear bad news. When we receive good news, we feel excitement.

I am prone to lose things on a regular basis, like my wallet. I worry and panic that someone will drain my bank account before I can count to ten. When, as usual, I find it where I negligently tossed it, I am super happy. Isn’t that, in itself, a good reason to worry?

Now, I worry about how I am going to finish this story. But if I didn’t worry, would it finish itself, I ask you? Should I just sit back and wait for the letters to magically appear?

I also worry about the banality of writing about worrying. But, it’s too late, the die is cast. Like Louis XVth so famously said: ‘Après moi, le déluge’. The ball is in your court. I wash my hands of it. I abnegate responsibility. What? Me worry? Nah. leave comment here