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I’ve been trying for weeks not to worry about this “procedure” that’s happening today. It’s not the “procedure” that I’m worried about — it’s what they might find. I kept telling myself, “Hey, Annie, Chill Out. Why Worry About What’s Going to Happen Four Weeks From Now. Two Weeks From Now. Tomorrow. Today!” But then those 4:30 a.m. banshees would appear and start tssking and hissing all around my head. They are relentless and not very original doomsayers. “Well, don’t be so complacent, girl. You never know what they’re going to find. What was that little twitch you felt just then, hmm? Didn’t sound good to us. You’re not going to worry about that one? We don’t think so. Why shouldn’t something dire and horrible happen to you, eh (they’re Canadian banshees now)?” They never seem to wake up the cats who sleep stretched out on 3/4 of the bed and couldn’t care less whether I’m worried or not. Well, that is until I start to move my legs and, Woops, kick them off the side. If they could poke the numbers on the phone, they’d immediately call their god-mom, Judith, and complain about maltreatment and insist she come and get them NOW. But until those paws can use the phone, they just reconsider their options and climb back in the bed and reposition away from my legs.

It’s really a big waste of time to fret about things, you know. I used to give impassioned talks to my unemployed clients about the ridiculousness of fear. I’d interlock my fingers and push them out towards the group and say, “This is what fear does to you! It locks you up. Are you able to do anything all tied up like this? No Way! How can you find a job if you’re scared? Who’s going to hire you if you’re desperate? Nobody, that’s who.” I was good. People would come afterwards and thank me for motivating and inspiring them and making them feel better. Why can’t I do it with myself?

I never considered myself a worrywart. (Isn’t that a funny word?) But there are times when I certainly turn into one. I remember as a kid trying to stay awake late at night so I could make sure that my mom was still breathing in the next room. All of my sisters — just like the cats — would be sound asleep around me and there I’d be worrying worrying, worrying. I don’t know what I would have done if she wasn’t breathing, but that didn’t matter at the time, I guess. I don’t worry all the time. There are moments, days, years — well maybe not years — when I’m cool, just moseying along feeling confident and rosy about what’s happening. And then, whamo, I slip, just like Alice, down a dark hole and I turn into this nervous, jittery, doomsayer-about-my-life woman. It’s crazy. I try to pretend that nothing’s bothering me but I don’t think I fool anyone — not even the cats.

They pretend that they never worry about a thing, but I know better. All I have to do is get that brown plastic cage out of the closet. Then those cat eyes start to dart from it to me from me to it. That’s worry, folks. Or, better yet, be late getting supper on the floor. At 5:05 Rose starts to pace and whine, pace and whine. “Where is it? Where is it? Where’s the food? Did you forget, Ann? It’s after 5:00!” It drives this woman crazy. I usually end up telling her to “Beat it!” This gets a little shocked look on her face, like “What is wrong with you, Ann?” Then she starts demurely cleaning herself like she wasn’t worried about one little thing, let alone what and, more importantly, when, food was going to go into her belly.

I believe everyone worries about something at sometime for some reason. I remember that old Don Knotts skit on The Steve Allen Show where Don would be shaking all over and Steve would say, “You seem nervous,” and Don, would answer, “No!” But I don’t laugh at me the same as my 11 year-old-self laughed at Don Knotts. Maybe I should start trying that. They’ve done a lot of research on how beneficial laughing is to cure all kinds of woes and worries. So, why not? I’m going to spend the next couple of hours watching funny videos, singing joyful songs out loud (sorry cats) and not worrying about a damn thing except to remember to take my umbrella because it’s raining.