This is exactly why I have irrational fears.

I’m one of those people who has no problem eating alone. I’m perfectly happy sitting at a table with my own thoughts, or surfing the web on my phone while waiting for my food. Some days I actually enjoy getting some time to myself. However, I have a very real worry about leaving the table to go to the restroom. I’m always afraid I’ll come back and my food will be gone because some eager bus-boy has scooped it up and dumped it in the trash.


This fear has never been based on actual experience but more on theory and normal observation of human nature.


The other day, I took my three-year-old son to breakfast. We had just started eating when he announced he needed to go to the restroom.

When you’re the parent of a small child, you really have no options as to whether you have to leave the table for restroom breaks. Anxieties and worries have to take a back seat. However, those same anxieties and worries can still yell at you from the back of your brain.

I glanced around quickly, taking note that the restaurant was not overly busy or full. There was no line of people waiting to be seated. With this in mind, I felt a bit safer.

We ran through the restroom routine in record time. We were on our way back to our table when I happened to glance up and saw one of the waitresses ACTUALLY CLEARING OUR FOOD FROM THE TABLE.

"Can I take that for you?"

I yelled across the restaurant, “NO! NO NO NO NO NO NO!”, pulling my son by the hand and trying to NOT sound like a crazy person, but managing to attract a good deal of attention. You’d have thought she was about to throw away the cure for cancer I’d painstakingly spelled out using only scrambled eggs and home fries.

The poor girl looked up, completely startled and confused.

“That’s our food. Umm, we’re not finished yet. Umm, please?”

Suddenly, irrationally, I was embarrassed to have embarrassed her for clearing our still warm food from the table when we’d only been up for three to four minutes. She started to apologize, blushing up to her hairline and didn’t seem to be able to decide what to do. It was as if the act of the plates touching her tray made the food suddenly inedible in her mind.

I swooped in and started removing our plates from the tray, all the while saying “I’m sorry. My son had to go to the restroom. No, really. It’s okay. It’s my fault. It’s fine.”

‘It’s my fault’??? REALLY? I felt terrible for NO REASON. I mean, I was in the right and I hadn’t been rude. But for some reason, my brain decided that I was the asshole for correcting her mistake. How does that even make sense?

However, once irrational fear NOT SO IRRATIONAL, hmm?

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9 Responses to This is exactly why I have irrational fears.

  1. Matt says:

    Oh honey….. LMAO.

    I get it, though. I’ve taken out one or both boys by myself and had the same so-called irrational fear.

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  2. Not Jim says:

    I usually take a book with me on the train and some days I’ll leave work early to do a little shopping before getting on the train to come home. There’s a big book store near my station but I never know what to do with the book I have with me. I always feel like if I walk around with a book in a book store they’re gonna think I stole it. So what do I do? Do I walk up to all the employees and go “Hi, I brought this book in with me!”

    I have no idea what to do.

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  3. Sean says:

    Been there, done that, and have probably felt the same way. I’ve gone the opposite way though too, I’m sure. As a single parent I can remember countless times, before I’d let even walk to the restroom alone, much less go in alone, leaving the table and our food to the chance of being cleared away. I don’t remember it happening very often but I know I’ve had to go to the manager at least once to get the food replaced because we’d only just sat down. It happens.

    Love the idea of taking a paper or book with you. I do that more now when I eat alone than I ever did before. If my book or paper is sitting there, looking obvious (to me!) that I’m still enjoying my meal, and you come clear it away, I’ll defintely feel comfortable being pretty ticked off about it 😛

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  4. Sounds like you’re a nice person. Who likes her food.

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  5. Susan says:

    Funny! I don’t think it’s entirely irrational (although if it is unlikely, then maybe statistics will be in your favor and this will never ever happen to you again.) I do think it’s REALLY funny that you stopped to take her picture.

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  6. Acadia says:

    Did she also think you weren’t going to pay?

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  7. Rai says:

    I do this! Well, not this specifically, but the feeling bad about something I really shouldn’t feel bad about.

    Hey, you have every right to go pee. They should understand, and replace the food if you weren’t done and they actually took it. it’s NOT a ridiculous thing to ask for that!

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