I have a dairy allergy, which can make eating out hard work, sometimes you don’t notice and it’s bliss by contrast and sometimes it is made very hard work.  I try to notify places in advance where possible and check they can easily cater for me.  I’ve learnt from experience it’s not worth trying to eat somewhere which doesn’t want to deal with it.
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Before the law said restaurants had to have a clear list of which meals contained which common allergens I went out for a meal. I had already had to jump through hoops with the waiter, who dragged out my order by repeatedly suggesting alternatives which I didn’t want, and without explanation pushed me away from an option which I knew would have been fine, and so held up the meal for a table of 9.   I was then asked by someone at the table about my allergy and how I went about eating out normally, and what effect it has on me.  Having suffered for some time I was replying to some degree on autopilot, being as succinct as I could be but cramming the key information in in summary.  I’ve had practice narrowing it down.

Someone else then said something about my boring people by going on about it.  I let it rest at the time but in reality my answer is something along the lines of “IMAGINE HOW BLOODY BORING IT IS FOR ME LIVING WITH IT – ALL DAY, EVERY DAY not just 5 minutes at dinner, my whole life from now on?   I didn’t ASK the waiter to make a fuss and be arkward;  I didn’t ask him to avoid what I kept trying to order and knew was safe; I tried to order simply; and I was just answering someone else’s question about the restrictions (and avoiding describing the symptoms/effect since we were at the dinner table). So what exactly did I do wrong to need telling that I’m boring?!”

I do get utterly bored having to explain to staff who really don’t want to know, less so to friends who actually care and express interest,  but even then it’s an old story to me which I wish I could just download understanding of directly into their heads.  It’s why I autopilot the answer sometimes; but with waiters who are strangers and clearly aren’t going to personally care it really does get boring having to impress upon them that it really does matter I get bored of being ill, and of having to explain how I avoid it, almost as bored as I get having remember what i can get away with eating; how often; (though in the last year that’s got easier as it’s now NOTHING dairy at all if I want no incapacitating symptoms) and when I have to stay strictly clean(pretty much all of the time);  I’m also bored with having to live with a week of feeling shit and unable to do anything when I get it wrong; of feeling like I’ve been repeatedly punched in the face and my guts are going through a mincer; bored of finding it hard to enjoy food at times because it’s all such hard work.

I also get really bored of never being able to eat the cakes or treats other people bring to events; bored of not even being able to nibble an unlabelled crisp because so many of them, not just the cheese ones, have dairy in them since the crisp makers discovered a bit of milk powder makes the crisps brown more with less cooking time.  Bored of having to check every single bloody ingredients list on every single bloody thing every time you buy it because unless it specifically says totally dairy free it’s not unheard of for a manufacturer to add skimmed milk powder or whey powder to a mayonaisse or bread, to fish fingers or to hummus (none of them foods which should have dairy in normally) so yes it is very, very boring to meat times.

I share to try to help others understand if and when they express interest. I share as a giving thing not because I want to share the boredom around, but because understanding usually makes things less boring for all of us.  I’d rather the boredom just went away and took my allergy with it, but unfortunately like the health problems it’s real and there.

Sometimes (as this case was) it’s a good person in a bad place for a brief moment, being careless, but sometimes it’s a generally judgemental insensitive character.  To my mind anyone who is negative about the mild, minor and minimal impact of other peoples health issues on themselves, such as being briefly held up behind a slow moving older person, anyone who imagines that their momentary inconvenience is worse than hell of living with a health issue day upon day need to question why they are reacting so selfishly.

Sure if we’ve previously promised that we would do something and let someone down citing health as the reason, they can be frustrated at our having over committed ourselves, that’s fair game sometimes but even then, sympathy is a far more productive reaction than criticising someone for being unwell.

It’s bad enough having a serious ongoing health problem, be it allergy or invisible illness (or even visible one, tho people are less critical of this sometimes) so please don’t add to the burden by criticising someone for sharing information when asked, and certainly don’t imagine that your boredom at hearing someone has a restricted diet is worse than their boredom at having to live with it or at worse at people having negative reactions to their diet just because they are lucky enough to be able to eat anything with no ill effect themselves.

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