Sunday, November 3, 2013

Anxious About Anxiety

I read something in the local paper yesterday that made me quite anxious. Apparently, the people who live in Horsham District—of which I am one—have been revealed as the most anxious people in the UK. And this makes me anxious.

Notice that Horsham is not the most anxious place in the south east of England, or in England itself, but the whole of the UK (there is a difference ). That’s a lot of responsibility to put on our shoulders. And this makes me anxious.

As a result of these startling finding, The Council is going to investigate why the anxiety level is so high. And this makes me anxious.

The reason this makes me particularly anxious is this: like everyone, I have my daily, run-of-the-mill anxieties, such as my eyebrows, whether we have enough pancake syrup in the fridge (apparently I am not anxious enough about this because, when I made pancakes this morning, I found we were out of syrup and had to scurry off to the Co-Op to get some, which really screwed up my Sunday morning routine) and how big the spiders lurking under my bed are (they are there, I just know it). These, however, are common to the entire population (aren’t they?) and merely put us on an even keel with the rest of the UK. But I, as an interloper, have a lot more to be anxious about than the average citizen.

Like corduroy, for example:

In the US, I knew wearing corduroy before Labor Day was a fashion faux pas, but as we have no Labor Day here (not even a Labour Day) there is no apparel-related starting point to let me know when it is culturally appropriate to take my corduroy shirt out of its seasonal retirement. My wife tells me to just wear it whenever I feel like it, but she is sort of laissez-faire when it comes to attire. And this makes me anxious.

Additionally, like everyone, I have my favorite pen (don’t you?) and mine happens to be the BIC round-stic fine point (black). The problem is, they are made only in the USA and were hard enough to get when I used to live there. Over here, they are impossible to get and I only have half a dozen left in my stash and this is making me anxious, especially considering that I was just over there and forgot to bring any home with me.

Likewise, my stock of note pads—what I refer to as my Perfect Paper Pocket Pads—is running low, and you have no idea how anxious this makes me (though, by now, I think you might be starting to catch on).

Really, what would I do without these; the very thought makes me anxious.
Another huge source of angst is the sudden disappearance of organic ginger cordial. Granted, other people are anxious about this as well but, as this is my drink of choice and is, therefore, used daily, I think I have more to be anxious about vis-Ă -vis organic ginger cordial than the average person. You see, after years of being my main supplier, Waitrose suddenly stopped carrying Belvoir Ginger Cordial, forcing me to go with the less-desirable Bottlegreen variety. But, because other people have also been cut short by the Belvoir brand disappearance, the Bottlegreen supply has been exhausted for the past two weeks, forcing me to resort to a Lime and Coconut cordial instead, which, predictably enough, installs that song in my head every time I take a sip of it, causing me no end of anxiety.

(I bet you thought life in a mid-sized market town was idyllic, didn’t you?)

And this is why I am anxious about The Council investigating the cause of our communal anxiety: I fear my personal anxieties are pushing us over the top.

What if The Council discovers I am the source of a large portion of the collective anxiety level and, without me, they would just have a middling level of angst, like Bognor? They might take advantage of this knowledge and move me to their neighbor and rival, Crawley, to make them the top worriers of the UK, and this makes me very anxious indeed. I don’t want to live in Crawely; I’d look silly in a hoodie and a Burberry cap.

Now I’m really anxious, and the only thing for it is to grab a cigar and a refreshing beverage and retire to the balcony. Although, the only beverage available is that lime and coconut cordial…


  1. Oh dear, it does sound as if your anxieties are overtaking a little!! I hope that everyone in Horsham isn't as anxious as you are Michael, the council will have a huge job on their hands otherwise!!

    1. If everyone in Horsham was as anxious as me, we'd be World-Class, not just tops in the UK ;)

  2. You can rest assured that you have enough friends in the US to keep you supplied with Bic pens and paper products for a long time to come. I'm still curious about the nature of Horsham that makes it so anxiety-producing. Are there a lot of high-pressure industries there or is it a hotbed of international spies and criminals?

    1. It's all First-World anxieties: will I be able to get the right vintage of wine for my Christmas party, will Hyacinth get into the proper prep school--that sort of thing. ;)

  3. Now you've got me all anxious... I even went to Waitrose today to check out the ginger cordial you mentioned..... and got a bottle, very easily from the many on the shelf. Whilst there I thought I would top up on supplies of my very favourite French soft cheese "Le Tartare" and.... Arrrrrrgggggghhhh! They have ceased to stock it from this week, at least yours is still available and will be back on the shelves. Mine is now to be a forgotten memory only product Boo Hoo

    Anxious moi?

    1. I'm not sure about your Waitrose, but the ginger cordial in ours is not the one they used to stock. Apparently, the GOOD one is the natural, organic variety, but the one they now stock is a processed variety that tastes, literally, like dishwater. There are plenty of bottles of that on the shelves since no one wants to buy it.

      Too bad about the cheese, though...