Monday, April 21, 2008

like a river

A few weeks ago, I was in my local photo developing shop picking up some prints for a friend whose daughter I had recently photographed. Per her request, I had ordered a whole mess of 4 x 6's and one 5 x 7 enlargement. The guy behind the counter handed me a standard envelope.

"But there was supposed to be an enlargement," I said.

"It's in there," he said. "The 5 x 7's fit into that envelope."

Sure enough, they had filled the order exactly as I had asked. I found the 5 x 7 at the back and slid it out.

"Uh-oh," I said. "I probably should have done a better job cleaning up the boogers under her nose."

The owner, who was also behind the counter but had been busy with some paperwork up to this point, looked up and said, "Ah, so you found something else to worry about."

"Yeah, that's pretty much my m.o.," I said.

"You've got that rolling angst, then?"

Indeed, I do, thanks to some combination of genetics and the kind of upbringing you get when your mom is a Holocaust survivor who, when you call her on a Labor Day drive from Nashville to Asheville and there's not a cloud in the sky nor a single other car on the road, answers the phone like this: "Where are you stuck?"

I've managed to get by with this outlook, but long-term it's not exactly working for me. And, unlike my mom, I do know there's more to life than worry.

I'm working on it; really, I am. In the meantime, though, I found it strangely comforting that this guy could have sized me up after about 30 seconds of observation. And also? I loved that he gave my, um, condition such a wonderful name. Rolling angst. Drafters of the DSM-V, please take note.

2 comments:

KD said...

I like that term, but would be more reactive to him saying, "What the hell do you know, anyway?" I guess that's my insecure/defensive part talking.

I think that I could describe that "rolling angst" in some members of my family as a "revolving anxiety." I like the image of a revolving door at a hotel or mall picking up one worry and dropping it inside the building of the mind only to circle back outside to pick up the next one.

Alyssa Severn said...

Preach on.