Thank goodness I've found a way to redirect the existential torrents that make me want to guffaw in the face of our absurdly self-complicated world.
During bad bouts, anything even verging on the practical...the normal...the perfunctory, provokes me and next thing I know, I'm asking the vacant woman at the dry cleaners if she still gets excited to push the carousel button after all these years.
Or, waving back so enthusiastically to the man dressed as a happy mattress on the side of the road that he actually stops waving.
My antidote to such angst is za'atar--a Middle Eastern spice blend with medieval origins that, by no coincidence, is thought to "open up the mind."
With as many variations on the blend as there are uses for it, za'atar is best purchased in the whopping 16-oz. bags sold at ethnic grocers.
Most commonly made with dried thyme, sesame seeds, salt, and sumac, za'atar can be mixed up at home; however, when my inner Sartre acts up, I don't have that kind of time.
I like to rouse the woodsy taste with a punch of aleppo pepper--a crushed, semi-dried pod with a humanely moderate heat level and an ancho-, raisin-like flavor--and then administer the combo in heavy tablespoon doses to oven-roasted potatoes, cauliflower, squash, parsnips, and carrots.