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.
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?