RetComLife #29 – Some Disappointments

I have been having some disappointments here at my retirement community lately. The main one are the dining options. I have a $350 monthly stipend for meals for each month. Until this month, I seldom used over $100 of that amount.

When Omicron came on the scene in late January, the eat-in dining room was closed and replaced with a walk-up cafe option. That made the world’s difference to me. I no longer had to jump through all the hoops to get my meals. Instead of spending up to two hours a day in the sit-down dining room waiting for someone to take my order and for it to be prepared and finally delivered, it was available in the cafe in 3 – 5 minutes. For the first time since I have been here, I have actually used over 90% of the monthly allocation!

Now that Omicron has abated, it looks like my retirement community will be moving back to the sit-down and wait dining only. ☹️ There is the option of calling in your meal request and then going to a designated area in a given limited time period to inform the waitstaff that you are in the waiting room. After sitting and waiting for twenty minutes or so it is finally delivered to you.

Let me explain why this is troubling to me. Being deaf, calling in the meals is not an option, especially since they don’t take text messages or any other digital form of communications. Yes, someone can make that call for me up to twice a day, but it is just another reminder of having to depend on others for daily needs. Sometimes, I just want to do things for myself.

As an Aspie, I have significant problems with most social situations. I just don’t do well in crowds and especially group conversations. Over the years, I have learned some masking techniques that have helped to take the edge off social situations, but only to a degree, never enough to make them comfortable.

On those occasions when I do go into the dining room I look for an unoccupied table and then spend the obligatory 40-minutes, or so, wait by pulling out my iTablet and reading news sites. At least that is better than twiddling my thumbs staring out into space.😖 When no empty table is available, I either go back to my apartments and eat whatever I have, or sometimes choose some poor soul to sit with. Let me queue you in on the second option. Almost no one that I have ever chosen to sit with has ever invited me to their table on a later day.

Being a deaf has its challenges, both for me and people around me. I generally speak loudly because that is the only way I can maintain my ability to speak. If I don’t have that vibration in my head to give me feedback when I talk, my brain may decide that I don’t need to talk. I can’t tell you how many glares I get from fellow residents every time I open my mouth in the dining room. I should be used to that after so many years but…

The second challenge is the social situation itself. I admit that I am pretty inept at it. I don’t do eye-contact, and really can’t understand when it is my turn to talk, and I don’t seem to understand when to stop talking.

Right now, my retirement community doesn’t seem to be considering a second option for dining, so I may be looking for another place for my retirement community living going forward. I love this place, but maybe I can find one more accommodating to my needs. I will try not to hurry that decision, but will be thinking about that in the upcoming months. I know there are many communities that advertise multiple dining venues. Maybe I should check them out?

One thought on “RetComLife #29 – Some Disappointments

  1. Like you, I would chafe at having to sit and socialize, plus wait the amount of time you do for a meal. Food for me is mainly fuel, not a social event.

    The retirement community my wife and I are considering has several dining options. Of course, Covid eliminated the buffet as one of them. My hope is by the time we move, the pandemic will be in everyone’s rearview mirror and the buffet option will have returned.


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