I saw it. I was probably the only person who saw it, but I agonized over whether to do anything about it. Bystander effect, I suppose. Certainly anxiety.
The clear blue bank-branded water bottle, sitting at an angle in a too-small pouch on a gray herringbone purse. How is she not checking to be sure it's there every 30 seconds? Every minute, at the very least? How is she not anxious that it might fall out onto the stained CTA seats and need to be cleaned before it can be used again, unless it maybe fell on its butt and the lid stayed clear of the floor or the seat or the walls or the poles when she catches it on the bounce?
What if it falls without her noticing and nobody notices either? Or if we catch it and don't get it to her in time before the doors close, leaving us standing there with a bottle of water we can't drink and don't know what to do with? It's lost, but it's not lost, because we knew who the owner is, so you don't know what to do with it but leave it on the train where it will roll off the seat onto the dirty floor and become ownerless when you get off on your stop.
She'll get to work without noticing her bottle gone until she reaches for a sip and it's not there, and she'll have to buy a water bottle for I-know-it's-clean water while suffocating the planet, because the drinking fountain has been in who-know-whose's mouths and riddled with diarrhea-causing and vomit-causing and flu-causing germs and is not clean, and the faucet in the breakroom is likewise suspect because you don't know if it's been touched by hands that have been who-knows-where and has who-knows-what germs on them, probably by somebody who didn't wash their hands in the restroom.
All because she didn't check often enough to make sure it was still there on her purse.
I wanted to remind her. To make me feel better.
I wanted to ask her--what is it like living life without anxiety?
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