What, Me Worry?

What’s worrying you?

Thirteen minutes ago, the biggest problem on my mind was on my tail, in the form of a dump truck a lot less than four truck-lengths behind my little car across the Rt. 2 bridge over the South River.

Now at my desk, my worry has changed. My chest throbs with the weekly high-anxiety, high-adrenalin pressure of getting Bay Weekly to you. For the next 12 hours, I’ll be outrunning that worry.

If it weren’t for sweating the small stuff, I’d be worried about the big-picture catastrophe of Deepwater Horizon, BP’s oilrig in the Gulf of Mexico, which I’m hearing called America’s Chernobyl. My list of worries on that score is so deep and scary that I file that gushing oil spill next to death and taxes on my list of topics I avoid thinking about. 

What’s worrying us gets a lot of thought in popular culture. It used to be that only God was omnipresent. Now polls are to God what cleanliness is to godliness. Someone’s always asking us what we think, and every form of media is just as busy reporting our opinions back to us.

Here in Chesapeake Country Dan Nataf of Anne Arundel Community College’s Center for the Study of Local Issues last surveyed us in March to learn what’s worrying us. It’s the economy, with the federal deficit heightening the vexation. Dan’s student pollsters will be calling again in October to see if your worries have changed.

How’s that working for your worry quotient? 

Don’t you wish somebody would ask you what’s making you happy?

Okay, what is making you happy? Right here and now? In the big picture and in the small details?

Here’s my list. I hope you’ll send me yours.

1. Mother’s Day.

Such good things happened to me on Mother’s Day. The agreement with my husband — since both our mothers are dead — is that for the whole day I get to do anything I want and I don’t have to do anything I don’t want. I read newspapers and a novel while I was served breakfast, a snack and dinner. I got filched flowers and good gossipy phone talks with faraway people I love. I got filial consideration and a new iPhone. 

Good things came to many friends and colleagues, too. Writer Margaret Tearman’s dog Lola brought her Mother’s Day cards from all three of the Tearmans’ dogs. Ad rep Amy Kliegman got a weekend getaway in Deep Creek Lake.

2. Bay Weekly’s Mother’s Day issue, with its cover story written by Kathleen Smith’s second grade class at Arnold Elementary School.-

Bay Weekly’s production manager Betsy Kehne’s cover collage of the kids’ art had just the kick I hoped for. The stories themselves took us into the wonderland of kids’ minds, and wasn’t that a trip? We hear from emissary Elsa Leigh Knoll that her class thought their paper lived up to one of their favorite words, awesome!

3. Joel Achenbach’s brilliant interpretive, steps-in-a-process story about deep-water drilling in Sunday’s Washington Post. That’s why I love newspapers: They put insight, understanding, entertainment and the unexpected at arm’s reach.

4. Strawberries. After writing and reading in Bay Weekly that strawberries are in, husband and I each bought a quart of early berries grown at Allen ‘Sonny’ Swann’s Calvert County farm. True, they needed a little sweetening, but that’s what chocolate is for. Husband served strawberry chocolate fondue.

5. Iris. Spring’s fragile, flamboyant flags are flying high. For two weeks, I’ve enjoyed the display (and stolen sniffs of their delicate perfume) in other people’s yards. One was deep pink on top, ivory below. Now I’ve finally got my own iris to crow about. This is the best year I can remember, and a couple of deep, deep purple beauties have found their way into my bed of mid-purple-to-lavender flags.

Of course if I look too closely in my garden, I can see the weeds. But that’s something else I don’t want to worry about.

What makes you happy? Send your list to [email protected]

Sandra Olivetti Martin 

editor and publisher; [email protected]