“If necessary, will you be my eyes at restaurants this weekend?” I look at Stockton as he edges the car out of the driveway in Mayberry, not wanting to go back and retrieve my magnifier.
“Sure.” As he likes to say, he’s here to help. And, he probably doesn’t want to spend more time in the driveway, stalling the trip to my father-in-law’s house.
I busy myself with my traveling gear. Sleep mask, check. Neck pillow, check. Good company, check. Stockton shifts into gear and accelerates down the road, passing homes I imagine are waiting for guests, too.
We will be dining out and if possible, before mealtimes I’ll browse the menu online, becoming familiar with the establishment’s style–formal or casual, seemingly quiet or energetic noise, limited entree choices or varied. And, my father-in-law loves restaurants. He will offer suggestions on which food or drink a place is known for, recounting meals as a knowledgeable host with relish.
If I’m familiar with the cuisine, I can focus on orientation and settling in at the table rather than rushing to choose an option from the sea of menu columns. When I hurry I miss selections, but more importantly, I miss the conversations blooming around me. I’d rather avoid that.
Over the visit, we do brunch at a restaurant I scouted previously. We sit in a large, heated patio space. The smell of brewing coffee and sizzling bacon reaches my nose. I switch places with my father-in-law to put myself next to a wide stone column which would block light and limit server traffic on that side. If the server stands on my right side or in front of me, I can anticipate when the server addresses me or needs to add or remove something near me. Countless times after gaining low vision, I reach for my drinkng glass as a server arrives with our meal or to clear things. Maybe you don’t consider stuff like that, but I overthink a lot of things, it’s my way.
“Are you able to read this alright?” Stockton asks over his menu. He knows I might discern titles, but usually not ingredients at the far distance of one inch away.
“Well enough.” I smile, feeling supported. If I asked him to, he would read aloud each option no matter how long it took. I return to the menu. Stockton will still mention one or two items available he knows I will enjoy. He’s accommodating by nature. I must say, things are easier to do when there’s a Stockton around.
How do the Stocktons in your life help you out? Tell me about it.