External angsting better with company

We all angst.

It’s just that we angst about different things that seem terribly important at the time.

And we angst with distinction, often to a different drummer, in our own unique ways.

I tend to think of myself as an external angster, meaning there’s no mistaking that I’m angsting.

With me, there’s no middle ground.

I’m either content and happy and all is super sparkly in this wild, wonderful world whether it’s Monday or Friday, holiday or no holiday, whatever.

Or I’m bent out of shape, nose out of joint, in a bad mood, whining. Fretful. Fearful. Worried.

Whaaaaaa.

Somebody call a Whamm-bulance.

I have to walk around, take deep breaths. Redirect my thoughts like a GPS recommending a new route after a missed turn.

Better Half, on the other hand, is what I call an internal angster.

Mr. Cool Cucumber on the outside.

It’s hard to tell if he’s angsting.

I usually have to ask to be sure, to monitor his mental well being.

“Are you angsting, sweetums?” I asked the other evening, trying to make a proper assessment from my line of sight — I was sitting on the sofa; he was nearby in a recliner, the remote control in his clenched fist.

He was frowning slightly, but he was, after all, watching the usual array of shows offering political analysis.

I guess I wanted angsting company — the real reason I asked.

It seemed to be my week for it — a week that began with a Sunday dinner invitation, meaning knotted stomach combustion as I fretted over what to serve, this or that, one or the other.

“I hate myself,” I kept mumbling, every time I made a new menu list.

“I hate you, too,” Better Half said, smiling in a show of spousal support.

In the end, I left dinner to the experts: Schwann’s for the roast; Betty Crocker did the mashed potatoes; Del Monte handled the veggies. And Duncan Hines helped with the cupcakes and icing.

Why had I bothered to angst?

Not one person got up from the table and announced, “I’m never coming back to this joint again.”

Imagine that. All happy campers.

At the time that I asked Better Half if he was angsting, I was in the midst of angsting some more myself, this time huffing and puffing and behaving badly all because a laptop computer refused to function properly.

The lady of the house was not among the happy camping crowd.

The world was not rotating as it should.

I don’t know what I hate more — when technology doesn’t cooperate and do what I need it to do or the fact that my well being seems to hinge on its very existence.

As I tried to will the computer to work just by glaring at it, Better Half made a confession: He was angsting internally.

His problem? Knowing his list of things to do included a minor plumbing job in the basement.

And plumbing on a list of things to do is no fun, worthy of self-loathing.

“I hate myself,” Better Half mumbled at the reality of knowing something needed done that he didn’t want to do.

“I hate you, too,” I said with a smile, “but cheer up. I think the Whamm-bulance just pulled in the driveway.”

(Kiaski, a resident of Richmond, is a staff columnist and features writer for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and community editor for the Herald-Star. She can be contacted at jkiaski@heraldstaronline.com.)

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