My nine year-old niece, the Paranoid Princess. When I took her out to the mall (with my mom in tow), you won’t see her walking around without holding on to either me or my mom. Sometimes, she’ll hold us both. And when she realizes that both her left and right hands are free? She would exclaim in a tone of voice that’s about one stop short from panic. sheer panic, “Hold my hand! HOLD MY HAND!” And if we don’t comply? The sky would drop from above, elephants would come waltzing in, right along with the lions and hyenas (all in a synchronized ballet movement), and the world will just come to an end. At least, that’s what you’d think would happen if we don’t grab her hands fast enough.
I was willing to write that one off as one of her many silliness because she is a child who indulges in laughter and sarcasm. I was proved to be wrong hours later, when we were about to go home. We were about to get in the cab. She was supposed to stay in the middle part of the backseat. My mom on one end and I on the other. I told her to go ahead and go inside but she stopped halfway. With half of her butt inside the cab, the stopped all of a sudden. I told her again to get inside. She told me to wait… So I waited, expecting her to look around, thinking she dropped something. But no. Oh no. What she was waiting for was my mother to get inside the cab first. She said she was afraid of getting kidnapped, that the cab would drive off with just her in the backseat.
Paranoia is in the genes. She just displayed it at such an early age. When I was her age, what I would do was make sure I locked the door for sure. And then, even though I’ve seen with my own two eyes that the door was indeed locked, I would still lock it. Not once, not twice but several times. Just to be really sure. And know for certain that burglars or zombies or murderers won’t be able to go in.
But that is not paranoia. That is obsessive-compulsive disorder, as I’ve learned later in life. All those glitches in the gene pool. *shakes head*