Or perhaps it is more simple.
Perhaps it is merely worry which like waiting, fixes the
worrier in the present, trapped in that impossible story, that unsettling
narrative where "the worst thing that could happen is more comforting
than the unimaginable thing."1 Waiting for and worrying about that
empty signifier, the stranger.
worry, it may never happen.
what I'm worried about ...
|But these are flights of imagination, mere slippages of possibility,
of possible catastrophe: "flirting with possibilities we are both the
hunter and the hunted."2 For Phillips "worrying implies a future,
a way of looking forward to things. It is a conscious conviction that a
future exists, one in which something terrible might happen, which is, of
course ultimately true ... by binding us to the present and the future,
it abolishes the past that is, so to speak, behind this particular piece
of worrying, that existed prior to its appearance as a preoccupation. It
seals time by encapsulating a sequence. When we worry, we look forward but
are not tempted to look very far back ."3
||A woman is standing on a street corner, waiting for a
stranger. For the writer, the worry is immediate, the possibility is narrative
failure. The stranger is still nowhere to be seen, an invention that perhaps
we ourselves are reticent to narrativise, lest it brings about closure or
completion. However, the stranger, as McAfee reminds us, "presents
an opportunity, not an abyss. By being shaken loose from the they, this
self sees the radical strangeness of others as the continual possibility
for being a subject, a split subject whose mirror is always partial. Without
completion, possibility thrives."4 While the stranger is nowhere to
be seen only the present exists collapsing into a worst case scenario [the
stranger will not come and her waiting will never
end]. In imagining this, her body is tense. An expression she has heard
too many times crosses her mind.|
She is flirting with possibility, this woman without a
past, worrying about an uncertain future.
1. Adam Phillips, 'Worrying and its Discontents' in Adam Phillips, On
Kissing, Tickling and Being Bored, Faber and Faber, London, 1993, p
2. ibid., p 54
3. ibid., p 56
4. Noelle McAfee, 'Abject Strangers: Toward and Ethics of Respect' in
Kelly Oliver (ed), Ethics, Politics and Difference in Julia Kristeva's
Writing: A Collection of Essays, Routledge, London, 1993, p 132