This is my name for a psychological condition I and several others suffer from in Aishalton. It applies equally to vegetables, but I think ‘Fruit Anxiety’ has a better ring.
The anxiety begins the moment you arrive home from the market with fruit or veg. Shall I put them in a plastic box? The cockroaches won’t get them, and there won’t be a haze of tiny flies infesting my kitchen. But soon the box begins to sweat. Condensation forms and begins to flow. The fruit begins to rot, and then collect moulds of every colour except the expected one. Marrow?- red, with a damp grey and white beard. Bananas?- hoarfrost with green edging. Onions?- a treacle-like substance with red tidemarks. Potatoes?- blisters, oozing, with a foul smell. Papaya?- boils (you don’t want to know). Tomatoes?- grey and exploding. Pumpkin?- blue, fading to white and bushy. Mangoes?- first speckled like a leopard, then oozing, then white. All of these occur at an improbable time-lapse speed.
Hmmm. Maybe not the plastic box. Cardboard?- can’t get cardboard here. Out on the table in a bowl? Covered in cockroach bites in the morning. Hanging in bag from the kitchen shelf? A haze of tiny flies grows and grows until you dread entering the kitchen. So I go back to the plastic box, drying it out twice a day (sometimes washing and drying the fruit and veg as well). This means that I become a rot, mould and pest policeman. And if I let my attention slip for half a day, it’s too late. Either the fruit or the kitchen is festering. It is hard to find time to work amongst my foodstuff-policing responsibilities.
The anxiety level is roughly double if the fruit or veg in question is a gift. Fruit Anxiety means that the gift is greeted with a mixture of joy and dread. Added to the frustration of waste is the guilt of scorning generosity: literally throwing juicy pearls before swine, gifts gone to the dogs. I do get some tiny satisfaction from seeing the Infuriating Sleep-Destroying Cows munching vile slimy marrow beard, and a kinder consolation from feeding chickens lovely fruit that is too over-ripe for me but ambrosia to them.
Thus fruit and vegetables become our masters. Their presence demands activity and military planning. Fruit Anxiety is clearly a disorder of many facets: obsessive-compulsiveness, single-issue fixation, ingratitude, and a disordered attention to food.
There are two ways to protect yourself from Fruit Anxiety. The first is to have trees or vegetables in your yard, and only pick things minutes before eating. The second is far more popular among Amerindians- live on meat and farine. It may not be a balanced diet, but at least you retain some mental equilibrium!