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Bro TV and Free Floating Anxiety

I'm currently fascinated with the Vice channel which my cable company deigned to place on my service last month.  It's a channel aimed directly at 20-somethings in general and specifically 20 somethings who like hip hop culture, marijuana, partying, food, and street wise fat guys with unkempt beards and multiple irons in the hustle fire. Oh, and people sitting on couches  getting toasted while they make each other crack up over inside jokes and snappy, hip observations on life.  It's the perfect alternative channel to have going at a bar when there isn't any sports on.  I know this because  my preferred watering hole started broadcasting Vice alongside its usual  sports ball fare and re-runs of "How Its' Made" and  "Mythbusters".

               It's a channel that is decidedly masculine in a Millenial Bro-ish way meaning that there are a lot of women on the channel both as hosts and guests, but the sensibility is somewhat platonic. Even the girls are bros in Viceland.  The first show I saw was hosted by a very attractive young lady hosted a two hour travel show touring the hidden cultural gems of Scotland with a focus on the food, drink and party culture.  There were several segments where she is taken under the wing of one local or another (almost all guys - good middle class Scottish party lads) and treated very much as one of the lads who just happens to be gorgeous, female and public school English.  It was all very funny, informative and entertaining.  I learned what the official alcoholic beverage of Scotland was (it's not Scotch) and what pop is the most popular, something called "Irn Bru" which is like Mountain Dew with twice the caffeine and sugar. She watches a famous underground chef make barbeque sauce out of it while he's stumbling drunk on the nation's favorite fortified wine, Buckfast.  She drives a boat 90 minutes to a distillery on an island for a tour then drunk drives the boat back to the mainland after she's had a few too many samples in the tasting room.  This is a typical show on Vice where whatever the subject matter or focus of a program is, the first thing is to make sure there's lots of pot, booze and breezy chatter. And if it's a cooking show then the typical host should be a fat guy with a penchant for hip-hop, tattoos, snapbacks and facial hair. Lots of facial hair.  And lots of handling food with bare unwashed hands. Utensils are in short supply on Vice cooking shows.  The whole effect of the channel is that there's controlled anarchy going on here and we're all in on the plot. Or joke. Or clique.  I like it but I can see it wearing thin after a while - especially the cooking shows which tend to be too hip and too smug for my taste. Not to mention that most of the ones I've watched focus upon street food or foods you make when you come home drunk from the bar.  They have cute names like "Fuck, That's Delicious" and "Bong Appetite" which are almost the best part of the quickly tiresome shows.  These shows are good to have running in the background at a bar, though. Which just might be the point.  I like "Huang's World" though which I think is one of the channel's hits for me along with Gloria Steinam's travel show, "Woman".

I've been having long bouts of free floating anxiety that I know is being caused by work stress, family stress and now the outside stressor of the future of health care for Z-girl who is diabetic and soon to be kicked off my insurance because of the ACA dismantling going on.  I'm about to go into the poor house even though I have a decent paying job.  Z-girl is currently job hunting after moving back home from Chicago and leaving her sales job that she adored but couldn't make work financially. I'm working on buying out her lease and fretting over where she's going to get coverage if she doesn't find employment with bennies. I'm becoming exhausted with coaching her and being her cheer leader. I do the same with my cooks at work. It's mentally exhausting in the extreme.  I feel exactly the same way I did while caring for my dying wife back in '09. Only I'm older and less sturdy now.

                I'm not surprised that I have panic attacks out of the blue and a general over- all feeling of dread and tension.  Doesn't happen at work much because my mind is distracted, but once my brain is allowed to wander, the anxiety rises up and paralyzes me to the point where I can spend hours watching TV and not getting anything else done.  And I can't write - the creativity is being strangled by anxiety and my mind is not free to wander and spin tales like it used to..  I'm trying to work on strategies to help myself, but I'm no expert in that respect so for the first time in my life I'm thinking of seeking some mental health counseling and will even consider medication if it comes to that. Something which I really, really don't want to do. Even watching Eileen wither and die in front of me didn't cause me to consider counseling, but its different now. My support system is smaller and I 'm getting it from all sides with no bright spots.  At least, that's how I see things. Perhaps I should look harder. I don't know.  It makes me sad that I've come to this point in life and I have to do this. I'm sad that here I am at the ending few years of my cooking career and I won't be able to retire with any sort of financial security. I've been doing this work since I was 15 and even though I knew I wouldn't get rich doing it, I expected more than this.  And yes, a lot of it was my own fault - but life handed out a few yellow cards of its own my way too.  I joke and say that I'll retire about 30 minutes before my funeral, but like all jokes, there is a sad kernel of truth deep inside.


Jan. 15th, 2017 05:57 am (UTC)
I have been to counseling a few times in my life, and every time it has been incredibly helpful. Not because they said anything that changed my direction, but because I could get it all out of my head and sort through it. My last therapist was an artist, and I would often talk about what I was going through via the photographs I was taking. She eventually got sick and couldn't work any more, but I sent her pictures for years after and she would always respond.