Strained argument

A phenomenological feeling associated with a step of reasoning going from X to Y where it feels like somebody is stretching a hand across a cliff and not quite making it.


Alice: “Hey, do you think that guy there is stealing that bike?”
Bob: “They could be the bike’s owner.”
Alice: “They’re cutting the lock off with a hacksaw.”
Bob: “Maybe they lost the key. They’d have to get the bike back somehow, after that.”
Alice: “So what do you think will happen if I go over there and ask to see their driver’s license and maybe take a picture of them using my cellphone, just in case?”
Bob: “Maybe they’ll have a phobia of being photographed and so they’ll react with anger or maybe even run away.”

At the point where Bob suggested that maybe the bicycle thief(?) would have a phobia of being photographed, you might have detected a sense of strained argument—even by comparison to ‘maybe they lost the key’, which should sound improbable or like an excuse, but not have the same sense of ‘somebody trying to reach across a cliff that is actually too far to cross’, or overcomplicatedness, or ‘at this point you’re trying too hard’, as “Maybe they have a phobia of being photographed”.