Not a problem-free philosophy

by Annie Beltran

Coming from the great southern land of Texas, I’m used to hearing jargon geared toward the location. I honestly had no clue “y’all” wasn’t the plural form of “you” until eighth grade.

One colloquialism I still don’t quite understand is “no worries.” I use it all the time; I’m sure I’m not the only one.  But what does it really mean?  How many situations can I apply it to? Should I really be saying “no worries” with my high-anxiety personality?

Recently, I accidently took a vegan to a taco shop located so deep in southern San Diego I almost had to bring my passport. I have nothing against people who don’t eat meat. I often choose a meatless option when dining; however, at this particular taco shop, the vegetables are braised in a meat sauce. And my Spanish is pathetic, so trying to figure out what I would feed my date wasn’t happening.

“No worries,” she said.

She used that laid back expression with ease. How could I not worry? We were on a dinner date, and I knew I wasn’t going home hungry. My love for authentic restaurants prevented me from leaving this grand taco location. When the English language is scarce at a restaurant, I know the food will be amazing.  Sadly, the only thing she could officially dine on was chips, salsa and spicy pickled carrots.

I was slightly embarrassed, being unable to offer my date part of the California burrito that kept me full for three days. As our date continued with some classic cinematic action, I continued to worry about her loss at dinner. To solve the dilemma, I promptly ordered the jumbo popcorn for her to feed on. Relationships are a two-way street, so she picked the drink we shared—an extra-large water.

There is nothing more heart wrenching than a bad haircut, whether you’re a boy, girl, man, woman or puppy.  If you’ve ever walked out of a salon with a messed up hairdo, or hair-don’t, you know this feeling. It’s the same feeling when you drop your $200 smartphone in the toilet, pre-flush and post-urination.  It rips out your guts and smashes every social event you have planned.

Once, I showed my hairdresser several pictures of the Olsen twins for inspiration.  Mary-Kate was rocking a stylish wavy look, with the perfect side-swoop across her face. This hairstyle keeps me from looking too much like Pocahontas.

After she finished treating my locks, the hairdresser spun my chair around with pride. I faced the mirror and my worst nightmare was realized—straight-across chopped bangs, like Lea Michele from “Glee,” and parted down the middle like Disney’s famous Native American princess.

I’m not sure what exactly tipped off my hairdresser about my absolute mortification. Maybe it was the salon staff reviving me back to consciousness or my inability to communicate in complete sentences.

“No worries, it’ll grow back,” said everyone I know.

To which I responded, “No worries, I’ll hide in my closet like the Hunchback of Notre Dame until it does grow back.”

Wikipedia states the expression “no worries” is Australian. The term was coined to promote casual optimism. I should have guessed the land of Foster’s beer and Outback Steakhouse was behind the laid-back gesture.

One cannot use “no worries” in every possible situation. Where does one draw the line? Drawing a thick line would save my friends from my anxious sarcasm when I actually am worried.

Let’s use another real life example. I commonly forget to grab my house keys, and people always ask me how I do such a thing so often.  If I’m locked out of my house when it’s sunny outside, that’s a “no worries” situation.  If I’m locked out at 2 a.m. with new friends who are seeking an after-party located inside of my home, it’s not a “no worries” situation.

It was at this moment one of my new friends, whom I had met at a local watering hole, said, “No worries. Can I use your license?” She broke into my house using my driver’s license. The group celebrated as if Jesus had just returned to turn water into more beer for our drunken evening. I’m still in shock—now I have to worry about how easy it is to break into my house.

OK, I can agree with a little optimism.  Although, how casual is casual? I just can’t agree with every under-kept beach hippie that offers me casual optimism during stressful times. One cannot live a life full of no worries.