When a Facebook friend posted the message “Anxiety, canxiety, I canxiety” the other day, my immediate reflex was to feel that she was not only speaking my kind of slanguage, but also possibly as eager to discuss the pangs of painxiety as I was.
And, thank goodness, so she turned out to be. Not that our chat thus far has by any means totally relieved the anxieties variously afflicting us, but at least it’s provided us a measure of comfort, if only by virtue of the fact that her spirit of self-revelation inspired me to honestly confess that I’m a fellow-agoniser over anxiety.
A fellow-agoniser to the max, in fact, as I’m forever anxious to write, and thus either chronically cranky, or, if you prefer, crankxious, that there are so many wrongs to right as to render me lost for words.
As, for example, during the past week, when possible topics have ranged from my friend’s anxiety, which she ascribes to a lifetime of disapproval by family and ‘friends’ of what they preposterously presume to perceive as her lack of piety, to the case of such extreme coronanxiety experienced by one of my close neighbours that she’s mortally terrified to venture outdoors.
Then there are those even more serious worries, like Bill, who I often encounter on my walk up the street for a coffee, and who has revealed himself over the years as to be so extremely and apparently incurably ignoranxious about people outside his tragically limited sphere of experience that he’s openly and hopelessly prejudiced against gays, lesbians, Chinese ,Aboriginals, environmentalists and, for all I know, many others.
In short, though, presumably to his undying disgust, this neighbourhood in which he and I live is becoming increasingly infested with ‘greenies’ like me, with people of Chinese and otherwise Asian descent like my wife, and virtually countless gays and lesbians of all genders, he remains a classic example of one of the many causes of my growing Australanxiety about the current state and future prospects of my natal nation.
In fact, though he’s never, of course, ventured outside this country, or even, for that matter, far beyond the bounds of the city of Sydney, he seems to me the very model of what makes the vast majority of us so Americanxious about the US: a redneck supporter of appalling populism as practised by Donald Trump and, into the bargain, a typical target of the Black Lives Matter movement.
This latter being a reaction against the apparently ineradicable tendency on the part of virtually the entire human race to downgrade or dread darkness of skin, or, if you like, to engage in what seems to me a malignant species of melanxiety.
Even though so-called ‘whites’ like me paradoxically persist in trying to sunbake ourselves brown, which we weirdly euphemise as ‘tan’, in defiance of our melanomanxiety in the face of the risk we thus run of contracting skin cancer, as indeed I’ve managed to do.
Whether people of darker, richer and thus infinitely more solar-radiation-resistant skin shades who use skin-whiteners in what seem to me misguided attempts to appear pale, or what my Eurasian daughter contemns as ‘beige’, suffer similar medicanxieties I have no idea.
I do know that some suffer medianxieties, however, having read recently that certain female Bollywood stars who sponsor skin-lightening agents recently received scads of adverse publicity for the duplicity, indeed hypocrisy of their simultaneously proclaiming that Black Lives Matter.
At the same time, as I’ve mentioned before, the eminent US-based author, academic, international columnist and global educationist Dr Azly Rahman excited considerable Malaysianxiety, at least in the most xenophobic Malay-supremacy circles, by declaring that All Lives Matter.
But this struck me as a very minor matter indeed in light of the plethora of far more perplexing politicanxieties occupying the minds of Malaysians of all racial and religious persuasions.
Principal among these perplexities being what party or party of parties, if any, is properly considered to currently have the right to be running, or rather robbing and otherwise ruining, the nation.
At first, when my friend openly professed her anxiety, I presumed it was provoked by either this politricky situation, or else by coronaviral and associated concerns like social-isolation and economic loss.
Just as she must surely have assumed that, at my advanced if not venerable age, I’d more likely be afflicted with with worries about my waning powers, as in, say, Viagranxiety or even my dreaded end, as in how-much-longer-can-I-hope-to-survivanxiety.
But, at least thus far into our mutual exchanges, however right or wrong our initial estimates of our respective anxieties and their possible remedies have turned out to be, we seem to have achieved an ameliorative measure of mutual understanding.
Which is simply that misery, like most other emotions, loves company. Or, in other words, as proverbially said of problems of every variety, anxieties shared are anxieties halved.