She was a chronic worrier, an angster. If she were a ganster, maybe she’d be less angsty. Gansters maybe have more to worry about therefore actually worry less, so it’s ok to smoke a pack a day.
Instead she knitted angst without dropping a single stitch, about even things that hadn’t happened but could. Nevermind about the obvious angsts, those of a cancer that could be growing somewhere deep in her bowels, or budding into a tiny nugget in her breast. My god, she actually could be commencing the act of dying while smelling a melon at the market and not know it until that first MRI scan! Which she might never have since, when she did finally die perhaps at some ripe old age of 90, she would have lived out her last years toothless sucking down liquid meals and angsting about how many years she’d wasted on angst….
She wasn’t 90, only midelife. But now this! What she’d just read, as she couldn’t bear to miss any bad- news press, that stars were burning out faster than new ones evolving! Nevermind that eternal darkness could plague the earth trillions of years from now, perhaps long after humans are extinct and it was only cockroaches and possibly horseshoe crabs that still reined. She could no longer gaze up at a perfectly clear evening sky and not feel…angst.
And then there was the prince of all angsts, the one in a crown at an over-priced mall birthday party: the precious sparkling-jeweled angst about angst.
“You take life too seriously,” a friend told her once over drinks, when she’d had a drink too many and spilled all her angst jewels.
Really? When some terrorist just one day might figure out how to shut down the country’s entire electrical grid so we are all left in pitch black? If not before all the stars burn out?
Her friend had shrugged. This was also the friend who had paid good money to be flown in an hot-air balloon on her 50th birthday, that conceivably could have burst into flames if its propane gas line had ruptured (she’d read that in a bad-news press headline too).
But it didn’t,” her friend had countered, about her hot-hair balloon mid-life adventure. “And I lived to tell the tale.”
And what was her tale?
Her friend smirked, twirling her straw in her empty tropical –something-or-other drink. “You even have one?”
Her friend had sucked dry even her melted ice cubes.
Her own drink was still half full. She looked down into it as if she might find a tale there. Not even a wavy reflection as you might find looking into a stagnant pond. Just a confusion of lights from the bar lamps.