You can convince yourself to accept any scenario if you try hard enough. Look at your significant other and believe he or she has been unfaithful. It's possible, right? Thursday it took them an hour to make a video run. During the outing they didn't answer their cell phone and when you later asked for an explanation they nervously claimed it failed to ring. And why the insistence a rare visit to the video store was all of a sudden necessary? It'd be one thing if it were 1988. Their desire to sit through a tenth showing of The Goonies was that overwhelming?

I bet you can think of a similar situation . . .

Whenever possible, I use paranoia to my advantage.

Often, however, it's the reason sleep eludes.

A recent unannounced trip to my office by Mr. Patel included a full minute of silence during which he focused his eyes on a Post-it note stuck to a new desktop computer. Though I was careful to disguise my cursive while addressing the envelope to his wife, perhaps Mr. Patel is an expert in the art of calligraphy and was positive he stared at a familiar loop.

Irrational fear was making my stomach queasy. Therefore, I had to act.

That Friday, via email, Mr. and Mrs. Patel decided to meet for dinner at a quaint Italian place a block from their house. Though pricey, the renowned eatery has an extensive menu and it was alleged by online critics that their mouthwatering portions were huge. It was an ideal opportunity for me to try their lip-smacking penne al'arrabiata; always good to load up on carbs before a long Saturday morning run.

Prior to piloting my rental car--can never be too careful--I was compelled to don a disguise. My collection of wigs double digits, I have a multitude of colorful options. I chose to be a buxom redhead. The style and shade went great with the tortoise-green frames I bought at the Salvation Army. I applied a few coats of makeup and filled a bra, larger-than-my-chest-demands, but, then again, aren't they all, full of fake plastic breasts that I secured at a post-Halloween blowout sale. I added some faux junk to my waifish trunk and slipped on a drab dress.

Their reservation was for 8:30 and, because forcing understrappers to wait makes him feel like a giant among men, Mr. Patel is uniquely late to work appointments.

At 8:45, through the large window separating the dining room from the sidewalk, I spotted the Mr. and Mrs. Patel. I instantly detected his alleged affair was the subject of a very lively debate.

A compact pulled from my purse reassured me that Murph was nowhere in sight.

Finally, I was ready to learn exactly how paranoid my actions had made the stunningly beautiful Carmel Patel . . .