a smart phone playing a sound file with earphones attached on a background of items from the sea

Most nights, as dusk falls, anxiety settles in on me. Not anxiety about anything in particular, just a vague, gathering shadow of dread. Having carefully chosen, measured and tracked nourishing foods from breakfast, lunch, and an afternoon snack in my WW (formerly Weight Watchers) app,  I find myself throwing caution to the wind at dinner – making Kraft macaroni and cheese in my Instant Pot, and ranging about in search of cookies, candy, and ice cream, ignoring my WW app altogether. There is some time on the couch, staving off fears by watching television with my husband. But he goes to bed before me and we sleep in separate rooms – the combination of my snoring and his apnea make it too hard for him to sleep through the night with me there. When he leaves, my evening anxiety returns, snuggling in with me on the couch.

I have learned to tuck charged earbuds into my pockets and keep my Pocketcast queue loaded with newsy podcasts. Because I have learned that nothing calms my mind at night like listening to very serious journalists discussing the problems of the world. I pop the earbuds in and let the soothing tones of a worried podcaster accompany me as I brush my teeth, get in my pajamas, get into bed and drift off to sleep. It is somehow reassuring that there is someone out there keeping track of corrupt politicians, liars, insurrectionists, lawyers of various stripes – someone asking tough questions, preferably someone who sounds grizzled and jaded. While they review the Byzantine rules of the Senate and whether and how legislation will be passed in regular order or through reconciliation, my mind drifts off to a land where there is nothing to worry about because everything that needs to be worried about is being worried about by someone else. And I fall asleep.