July 6, 2019

GF sucks, plus bandwagon, a soapbox lecture, and a better dinner

So, I was forced to hunt down my lunch at Ed's orientation like some caveman who has a language barrier AND an aversion to the only item on the menu:  spicy, rubbed dinosaur wings with a side of dirt-flavored water.  My GF wrap came with sides, but the server apologized because she was busy and uninformed about what was safe for me, so I had to skip the sides.  She ended up having no southwest wraps as promised, just Cesar.  Bummer, but you know beggars/choosiness don't mix.
Maybe you can't read
this, but the
 afternoon sessions
 included things like:
 housing and
 getting to campus,
 partnering for
 student success,
business of being
 a student:
 family edition.

I got in another lengthy line to checkout with my $9 voucher in hand.  The checker charged me the full $9 for the wrap and tacked on the side salad.  When she said '$6.50', I thought she was saying that my total came in at under the $9, so I grabbed a coke.  Then she asked me for even more money than the $6.50.  I was confused and people were doing balancing acts with their trays in line behind me.

'I gave you my voucher, right?'   She clarified that I owed another $9.50 on top of the $9 voucher.  I explained that I only got the wrap, because I couldn't eat the sides.  She could not ring it up separately.  She apologized.  I put the salad back because it wasn't GF anyway.  I still owed her money.  I think it was $9 for the wrap- that I didn't want, and a then a few bucks for the coke- that I hoped would keep me awake in what looked like boring afternoon sessions.  I would have paid more money if I found a few different things to eat- I am not THAT cheap, but I wasn't even offered good options so I was ticked.

I found a table where I could sit alone.  I had planned to seek out someone to sit with and be friendly towards.  Change of plans.  Now I was beyond grouchy, HUNGRY (knowing this wrap would not fill me up), and honestly a little tearful.

Exhibit A:  GF food.  Skinny pop.  I try
 to stay away from it, because I am
confident that if I shovel it in at the rate
 I am capable of, it no longer has
 anything to do with skinny.
I hate eating gluten free.  Navigating eating out causes me anxiety having been given something wrong in the past.  I did not want to spend my night ALONE in a hotel yakking up my over-priced, unsatisfying lunch.

I had done my due diligence, right?  This was unexpected in a world full of gluten free eaters - even if many of them don't really NEED to eat gluten free.  Bandwagon jumpers mess things up for legit celiac disease peeps, because restaurants get lax assuming most people don't HAVE to avoid gluten due to a medical condition.  Please wait while I tuck my soapbox back under my desk.

In this afternoon 'family edition' session,
 they passed out envelops and paper and
 invited us to write our student a letter.
 They passed around Kleenex
and played sappy music.
 Was that really
necessary, to get us all emotional
 months before the kids even pack up?
I was wishing I had my family nearby.  Things would have gone differently.  Coach would speak up and inquire about food availability up ahead of my spot in line while I held our spot.  Or my kids would offer to ask someone something, or promise to share their bag of chips.  I was embarrassed that I had all these people staring at me.  I imagine that they thought  I was being difficult, or that I didn't know how the voucher worked.  I sniffled thru lunch, but as we all now know - I soon met another same-middle-name, same-taste-in-shoes Ernie, so the afternoon brightened.

My favorite part of the day:  being reunited with Eddie, and dinner:  huge improvement.  They handed each of us a map for the dining hall where they bussed us.  The map displayed the layout for the various food-court type options, and what food contained what allergens, and there were real live chefs/cooks standing by to answer questions.

After diner I dropped Ed off at the dorm he was going to stay in and I went back to the hotel and changed into workout clothes.  Then I walked the campus.  It's big, but I think I get the lay of the land now.


Kari said...

OMG hungry and emotional is not a good mix. I am so sorry you struggled to find something to eat. I can understand this completely as I had food allergies in my 20s that made finding food options while not at home really, REALLY hard.
Also, why in the HELL are they making you write them letters?? It's like YOU are having to go to college. Geez. :)

Marie Smith said...

Dietary issues make eating a chore for certain!

Elephant's Child said...

Hungry and emotional equal HANGRY. Really, really hangry for me. Or I burst into wracking sobs. I really wish that gluten free wasn't 'fasionable' at the moment. It would mean that those who cannot consume gluten would get a much better deal. And food that they could eat which wouldn't cause them a heap of pain later.

Ernie said...

It was so irritating. Especially because I CALLED AND ASKED. It was disorganized.

Ernie said...

Oh, and the forced letter writing workshop was so cheesy. Pleassse!

Ernie said...

You said it. If I was familiar with the dining setup, I would have navigated it better. It was crazy how the dinner was handled so differently- with allergens taken into consideration.

Ernie said...

Hangry, for sure! And so true- I usually tell restaurants that I have celiac disease vs eating gluten free, because some places have admitted that they prepare food differently for people with actual celiac disease. They know they don't have to be as careful with those who simply wish to avoid gluten.

Azka Kamil said...

awesome article,
thanks for sharing and have a nice day