I've been nervous about a lot of things lately. More nervous than usual, which should be impossible since I'm constantly nervous about something. I'm worried that my beautiful new IKEA plant will suddenly turn yellow and die like it always does after four months. I can't stop thinking air conditioning units will fall from the windows of tall city buildings as I stroll beneath them. I lie awake and fret about contracting MRSA from bus and subway handrails. I'm overly concerned with ingesting toxic mold from organic peanuts, hydroplaning off exit ramps and breathing in micro-organisms thriving in the mist of my humidifier. I'm not totally sure if I'm allergic to any anesthetics but whenever the dentist asks me, I always say no. Inevitably for the rest of the appointment, my mind cycles through numerous death scenarios, most of which involve my throat swelling shut as I writhe and gasp for breath under the spotlights, helplessly reclined in that awful chair while bubbly cute, ill-prepared technicians scramble around searching for life-saving equipment that doesn't exist.
I'm also getting married next week. But that's a low voltage stressor. Marriage clocks in somewhere between my doomed plant and infectious humidifier on the anxiety meter: Fairly manageable.
I don't usually watch television in bed, but a few nights ago during a particularly nervous spell, I decided to prop up some comfy pillows, pour myself a snifter of my finest rum and curl up with some quality programs to lull me into dreamland. I even found a priceless little nugget of medical marijuana to burn, leftover from when I used to have a medical marijuana license which was never.
My fiance was already sleeping peacefully at my side, my gentle cat coiled tight in a knot at my feet. The radiator was blasting out luxurious waves of heat, snow flakes were falling quietly outside and I was finally ready to float down easy street on the calmest cloud in the sky. It was the first moment in a long while I felt I could truly let go of all my anxious thoughts if not even for an hour.
Comfortably numb, I flipped on the tube to browse my favorite four channels in a row: NatGeo, ID, BIO and H2. Kicking things off, The First 48. In case you're not familiar with it, a real person dies in every episode -- sometimes two -- and usually within the first minute. I knew about the premise, but I wasn't prepared for the 27 stab wounds the investigators were closely examining on an 18-year-old's back. I flipped it off immediately in horror. To my surprise my next favorite station was showing cataclysmic nuclear explosions and 10-mile-high mushroom clouds on a particularly grim installment of Modern Marvels. Surprised and maybe even slightly amused, I clicked up another channel. ID was premiering a new show: Wives with Knives. I clearly don't need to explain what that was about. It wasn't good, but it managed to (forcibly) hold my attention for a good, grisly chunk of time. Well at least one eye of attention, the other I kept on my "sleeping" bride-to-be. Now in full paranoia mode and fast approaching bona fide panic attack, I clicked up one more time hoping that after dead teenagers, global annihilation and murdering spouses, I could find some harmless intellectual relief -- aliens, crustaceans, innovative farming equipment -- anything. As usual, luck is never there when I need her. My final attempt at a relaxing nightcap was ruined by Disappeared. This episode featured a young vacationing couple abducted in Mexico, never to be seen again.
I quickly snapped the TV off and tried calming myself down with only the blue lights of the wireless router flickering in the empty darkness.. I pondered exactly how much of a refund we would get if we cancelled our upcoming honeymoon to Mexico. And if the North Koreans really could lob a missile all the way over here. And if the humidifier humming along softly in the background was spewing viral droplets into my rum. And exactly how long being stoned lasts, and if it's possible to remain high permanently. That's the last question I remember whispering to Siri before the sleep genies finally put me out of my misery.