On a regularly scheduled Friday night outing to Chick-fil-A with her dad, Jessica overheard a customer talking. Jess started saying, “Was there a stranger sitting behind us?” Dad answered, yes. “A stranger was sitting behind us?” Sister answered, yes. “There was a stranger sitting behind us?” The answer was yes. “They’re strangers?” Yes. “Was it somebody we know?” No. “They were strangers?” Etc.
Finally, Jess said she heard them say they weren’t coming back. Hearing that comments seemed to bother her. Next, she went back to asking, “There were strangers sitting behind us?” Yes. This line of questioning went on the rest of that night and until the next afternoon.
What was that all about?
The next day, Jess and Hannah went out to eat lunch. As they emerged from a bathroom visit, Jess asked Hannah, “Was there someone in the stall next to you?” Yes. “Who was it?” Hannah answered, “Just a stranger.” Jess responded, “There was a stranger in the stall next to you?” Etc., You get the idea. Why the stranger questions? We are not sure.
Once they got back home, Jess told Hannah that she heard a stranger sitting near them say they didn’t like their food. Hannah said, “I think you’re making that up.” Jessica said, “Oh.” 🙂
We are not sure what this new fascination with strangers is about.
I suspect it is anxiety driven from an irrational fear that the strangers are actually people we know and that those people are not happy about their restaurant experience. If they are people we know, and they aren’t coming back to the restaurant, then maybe she’ll never see them again. She could have been worried that the “stranger” in the bathroom might have been someone she knows, and she missed an opportunity to visit.
These are the weird things we have to have our radar out for every day and every outing. Those of us who live with her know her well enough to have a good idea what triggers are out there. We have to be on constant alert to make adjustments to keep things smooth.
The constant attentiveness is the easy part.