I met some friends for dinner one night last week. One of the women was visiting from out of town, and her hostess asked her where she would like to go eat.
Well, the choice she made was not one of my all-time favorites. Let's just say, it's over-priced, crowded and noisy, too.
But away we went.
I arrived a bit early, so I went inside and put our names on the list and was handed one of those little discs that lights up when your table is ready. I was also told it would be 30-35 minutes.
Since the night was delightful for a January in Fort Worth TX, I had no problem waiting outside on their patio.
Soon my friends arrived, after having a heck of a time finding a parking space.
Sure enough, our table was ready. The noise engulfed me. Tile floors, stucco roof, no curtains on the windows, nothing absorbed the din of pre-dinner drinkers at the bar, and other patrons eating their dinners, talking above the din.
I started getting a headache even before we ordered our overpriced meals. I ordered a somewhat moderate dinner, knowing full well I wouldn't eat all of it. The portions were huge.
And our dinners arrived. We were seated at a circular table, and the only person I could hear was seated next to me. Forget talking across the table to other people.
So my diner to the left of me led the conversation and I replied as best I could to what I thought she had said. I have a friend who says when she can't hear anybody in a din like that, she just makes up what she thought she heard. I think that's what I did. Making sense of something was futile. I think I answered and followed her conversation, but probably not.
Finally, we were all paid up, doggie bags ordered for one thrifty diner, and we proceeded out of the restaurant.
By that time, I was completely disoriented. I asked the woman in the lead, "Why are we going out this way?"
She said, "Because this is the way we came in."
Ah, now I could see the hostess table with the twinkly little discs, and harried looks on their young faces. We were indeed on the way out.
My legs felt like rubber; I had to proceed with caution and not fall. Then it dawned on me: I was having one of those "disoriented and shaky" moments from an event in July, where I found myself shaking all over, being disoriented, and physically exhausted. My primary care physician checked me over, assured me it wasn't Parkinson's, and sent me to a neurologist.
He knew the minute I started telling him about my experience with shaking all over and extreme fatigue. "I know exactly what you have," he said. "And it's simple and easy to treat."
He then said I have "benign essential tremors" that were triggered by the over-stimulation of the event. I take Primodone, an anti-seizure medication, twice a day and am free from the tremors.
Until I entered that restaurant, that is.
So now I know I have to look out for myself when choosing a restaurant. It needs to have a quiet ambiance, even more than a moderately priced menu selection. Call me difficult, call me demanding, but just don't call me to a restaurant that has no noise buffers. I'm looking out for myself.