It's Not Paranoia If You're Right

Yesterday evening I had to go to the dentist for a quick check up 1-year post surgery (though I'm closer to 18 months post-surgery) on the gum biopsy that my dentist had decided I needed. On the positive side, I have beautiful teeth, there is no indication that there was ever any type of cyst there and everything looks as normal as can be. So that was good.

On the not quite so positive side, the child had a massive, on the floor kicking tantrum while they were doing my panoramic x-ray, so I think we're all glad that I don't have to show my face in there again in the foreseeable future.

Exploring the reason for the tantrum after we got back in the car, he decides that it's because he's hungry. As he did manage to pull it together and be good for 90% of the visit, I decided that I would go ahead and give him the very specific dinner he asked for and we went off to Panera for a grilled cheese sandwich.

While we were sitting there, him devouring his sandwich as if he'd not eaten in three days and me sipping some iced tea, the older gentleman (let's say mid-50s as a guess, not old, but not my age) sitting diagonally from us smiled and made a few little comments about the kiddo. I answered in my polite but brief way that is designed to make the person talking realize that conversation is not really what I'm about. But the man persisted. I didn't want to be outright rude (well, ok, I did. But I was raised better than that.) So we chatted for a few minutes about this, that, and the other thing and I started to feel like it was a one-way interrogation.

So I began making things up.

Honestly. I don't know whether it's me being incredibly suspicious and paranoid and this was a perfectly nice person just trying to have a conversation or if there was something weird going on. It got me thinking about the society we live in.

Growing up, my sister and I ran tame on our block. Our family knew all the families on both sides of the streets with kids in anywhere near the same age range. We knew which houses were ok to go to and which to avoid (there were really only 2). We also ran tame in the canyon that ran behind our backyard and led, after a rather steep descent, a gully, and an ascent, to the neighboring mesa. (How, with my abject fear of snakes it never occurred to me to be scared of running into same while playing out there is simply a testament to the protection of God, because I never saw any, though I know they were there.) Even still, the idea of not talking to strangers was firmly ingrained in my brain - it's just that there weren't a whole bunch of strangers to worry about.

Now? The idea of striking up a conversation with a random person at Panera makes me look for some wacky ulterior motive. Especially when they start in with questions about being from this area (though really, normal question), whether the kiddo is our youngest (again, pretty normal), and so forth. So was he just being friendly or am I right that it was odd?

1 comment:

Lynellen said...

you are right... it was odd.

we do not live in a small town, so small town rules do not apply here.

the world has changed and even small town rules from 40 years ago might not apply in today's small town.

i think as a mother it is part of your job description to be paranoid... thats part of being protective. maybe we can invent something to say to end those conversations. like... "Excuse me, I don't mean to be rude, but my throat is really hurting when I talk today."