Last night I took my mother and grandmother out for an early Mother's Day dinner. This neatly avoids having to battle the Sunday dining crowds, and didn't require me to make reservations months in advance.
Of course, the term "fancy restaurant" is a relative term. If you live in New York, Chicago, L.A., or any other large city, you would undoubtedly laugh your ass off over what qualifies as "fancy" here in Wenatchee, Washington. As if to prove my point, arguably the best restaurant in town is a burgers and pizza pub called "McGlinn's Public House" (I'd provide a link to their site, but it's a shitty Flash monstrosity that sums up just about everything I HATE in a web site). Out of all the places to eat in the valley, this is the only one I really like.
Not wanting to take my grandmother to a pub... even a really nice one like McGlinn's... we instead went to "The Cottage Inn" which is kind of like a boring version of Applebees. The food is pretty good for Wenatchee (mostly steaks and stuff). Most important, however, is that the atmosphere is very non-threatening and grandma-approved. This type of setting makes The Cottage Inn a favorite haunt for the elderly, and it seems like there is never anybody under 60 eating there.
This presents a problem.
Since most everybody is old, dinner conversation usually revolves around health problems.
Scary health problems.
I remember one time where the table next to mine had four old ladies actively discussing their bowel and bladder issues while they were eating. Once they got to the point where they were having to wear diapers on road trips, I was ready to kill myself. Last night was no different. The booth directly behind me was talking about all kinds of balls-nasty crap. As I was trying to enjoy my baked potato and salad dinner, I kept hearing words like "bile" and "mucous" and "spleen".
WTF? Why would anybody want to talk about this crap while eating?
It was so bad that I didn't even want to order dessert. And I ALWAYS order dessert. Things like this have me hoping I die before I get to the point where I feel the need to discuss my bowels and spleen in public.
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What about your bunions??
Old people are funny like that. You would not BELIEVE the amount of things about customers I have heard that I really did NOT want to know!!
Wenatchee huh? In the early 70s I was doing a little acting work and my best partner from the cast was a guy named Ron Littke who was from Wenatchee. I can’t say we ever talked about the conditions of our membranes and stuff, but we certainly did try to pickle ourselves in those days…
Try being married to a doctor if that grosses you out. I have to hear about stuff like that all of the time. Although, typically she uses the doctoring terms for these things and half the time I have no idea what she is talking about.
The one thing old people like to talk about more than anything in the world is their health problems.
And since nobody would be dumb enough to hang around and listen to that on purpose – what better place to let it all out then with the captive audience of dinnermates!
Mmm, bring on the gallstone potatoes and bile sauce!
It’s just something they all have in common. They like to play one up-manship as to who has the worst health problems. So instead of talking about who got the most wasted like you used to, it’s who has the worst kidney or prostate.
I’m hoping I go senile and instead piss people off by asking where Timmy is every 5 minutes.
eewwww… I am so glad that my grandma always thought that health problems were not proper dinner table coversation… I couldn’t even say the word fart at the table… I was a lucky lucky girl…
The last time I sat aorund with the women of the family and they went for the medical issues stories I played tunes in my head for almost the entire time. Then when I coudld take no more and put in a story of my own complete with blood and gore I was stared at for an uncomfortable period of time and was dismissed with a ‘just you wait…’. My mum later made me promise that I would have her ‘put down’ (her words, not mine) before she got like that. I dutifully agreed… well, you’ve got to do what your mum says!
Your sentiment goes along with mine: If I am ever forced to ride around in those motorized wheelchairs when I get older, would someone please remove my brakes and set me next to the Grand Canyon.
What a good guy you are for going to the Senior Special
My wife and I eat out most weekends with a wonderful her wonderfu Uncle and Aunt–same Japanese restaurant, same time, same day. It is really pleasant (I’m serious). But, the universal conversation “mature-adult” topics DO come up (so to speak…)…Today we discussed uncle’s barium X-ray…Let’s say, I’ve gotten good at shutting it out when it disturbs my appetite…My wife is in the medical field and it doesn’t phase her at all.
*old lady voice*
“Yes Ethel, the doctor told me that nasty bowel problem that began in his spleen was the cause of the mucous that plagued David could all be traced back to his Hello Kitty PopTart diet. Pass the grapes would you dear.
My grandmother passed away this last fall but I remember dinners with her in Florida where they’d hear ambulances and she’d discuss which of her neighbors it most likely was along with a list of their recent ailments. Fun.
Worst ever is going out to eat after a dog show with a bunch of dog people. It gets frightening, especially since you’re tossing around breeding terminology and the word “bitch” with aplomb.
And I’m still trying to imagine “a boring version of Applebee’s.” WOW. Last time I was in an Applebee’s was on the road somewhere, and I was served cold mashed potatoes with strips of styrofoam hidden inside. Yum. Haven’t been back.
Would it be considered rude if you politely turned around and sneezed on them?
Dave, I feel for you, bud. Next time, maybe try turning around and saying something like, “Oh, that’s nothing. You should see the size of the bleeding fissures on my anus! What? Was that inappropriate to talk about at the dinner table?”
I’m just old for my age. Bowel movements became a regular conversation topic between my friends and I some four years back. Tales of giarida, food poisoning, diarrhea, and intestinal parasites help us catch up with the goings on of each other’s life.
“Things like this have me hoping I die before I get to the point where I feel the need to discuss my bowels and spleen in public.”
Unlike, of course, discussing your kidney stone issues on your blog, read by millions?
Let’s face it Dave, we are already almost there. I found myself discussing female issues with about 6 other women the other night at a fancy restaurant. It happens. We’re pushing 40. Let it go, consider it a right of passage.
You would think they’re old enough to know better. Think again.
Hey, all I said was that kidney stones were painful… and if THAT bothered people, they could choose not to read it. This is a far cry from talking about your mucous and bile in a restaurant where I had no choice but to sit and listen to it… well, I suppose I could have walked out and left my grandmother and mother sitting there, but that wouldn’t have been very cool. 🙂
Reminds me of my Rotary Club. I’m the youngest member of my club by at least 30 years. Every week we sit around and talk about former Rotarians and other Laurelites who are dead or dying, then we take an informal poll to determine which disgusting health condition we’re going to discuss for the rest of the meeting. There’s one guy in my group who really enjoys talking about his colonoscopies. It’s charming.
Your entry made me laugh out loud. Health problems at meals is never fun especially when you are hearing about people you don’t even know. I took my mom out Friday and had to listen to her order everything “special” i.e. without sauces (we were at a Japanese steak house) so no soy or teriyaki, which is kind of impossible but the best part was when she said to the chef “it’s okay – you want have to call an ambulance or anything but BE CAREFUL.” Ladies and gentlemen, my crazy mother. But she was raving about wasabi so WTF?
A boring version of Applebee’s. BAHAHA.
Nothing quite like a lively bodily function discussion to spice up dinner! Yum!
Will we all be that way when we are older?! Scary!