Table Conversation

From downsizing and moving into a Senior Living facility, I have learned a few lessons. While the amenities are good, except for the smaller living space and the lack of my wife’s home cooking.

Social life here centers around the dining room, where most residents eat and gossip. Before entering the group dining room, I see the fourteen walkers lined up alongside the hall wall. These walkers are left there by fourteen senior citizens who live in the Senior Citizens facilities.

The facility houses 66 senior citizens with unique stories, experiences, and dogmatic opinions. Much of the talk has no support to back it up.

The most common word I hear is “Huh.” Someone starts a conversation, and immediately another person asks, Huh? Either they have forgotten to install their hearing aids, or they are low on battery, or are not tuned correctly. No one cares; individuals wait to tell their stories. The stories have a life of their own and are repeated repeatedly. But that’s no problem; many people have forgotten the story even if the story was told five minutes ago.

The conversational phrases include: “Didn’t we have chicken yesterday?” “I don’t like this meatloaf, and another person responds with, “This is excellent meatloaf.” Several times I have heard a resident tell her server, “I didn’t order that.” She did order that, but she forgot what she ordered in the time between ordering and being served.

Even though there is an open-seating policy, I often get that stare communicating, “You are in my chair.” Church attendees often hear a similar statement.

Two elevators serve our four-floor building. Yesterday, I heard one resident say to another resident do not get on her elevator.

My daily goal is to not sit in someone’s seat or take the wrong elevator.