Seniors on fixed incomes suffer from rapid inflation
March 15, 2022 called the Old Men of the Mountain for breakfast at Mrs. K’s in Middleburgh. The 15th was shortly after the clock change, which may be why the OFs took so long to gather for breakfast.
Early risers wondered, “Where is everyone?
Slowly the OFs started to drag each other out and the restaurant started to fill up with OFs and others.
Almost as soon as the OFs arrived, the opening conversation focused on gas prices and prices in general. Just by the title of this little report, to keep the law away from some members, the opening descriptive word is “old”.
This is a good indication of how the group’s income is obtained; it’s basically a fixed income that was set many years ago and adjusted somewhat for inflation, but nothing like what we know now. This really causes some living expense planning by many seniors.
An OF mentioned that price increases were expected, but in incremental increments, nothing like now. This OF used a quick example of the cost to fill the tank of a semi truck and if we’re talking about a large fleet of trucks – wow! There is a chunk of change.
They (“Who are they?” asked one of the OFs. The answer was, there’s always a wise guy, whoever “they” just fill in your own blank, you know who “they” are) say we can’t burn wood, we can’t burn coal, so what are we supposed to do, freeze?
“Go electric,” mentioned an OF and get there by wind, sun, hydro, but not by burning something.
Not only is it gas shock, but the price of the OF’s latest electricity bill. An OF wondered where it all started. It’s not that some of those bills went down a few percentage points, but some seemed to go from high to ridiculously high in a single billing period. An OF thought maybe all the big power bigwigs needed another mansion at the same time.
An OF had a good suggestion for anyone living north of the Mason Dixon line. He felt that these people should be moved south of the Mason Dixon line at government expense, so there wouldn’t be so much noise about fuel oil or petrol; we would let the sun do everything.
“Too simple,” said another OF, and this OF thought it was going slowly anyway. If you go south or southwest, you will find people who have moved there from New York, Canada, Michigan, etc.
This scribe knows that there were other topics, but in the scribe’s notes there are eight entries: price, gasoline, travel, riddles (?), painting, fuel oil, waitress, Ukraine – that’s it.
There is a note about the time change, but it was quick. The basic thought was: Why bother with the time change? Leave alone.
A little research showed daylight saving time started in 1918. Apparently it was originally considered by none other than Benjamin Franklin (in the 18th century!) who thought sleeping late in the summer was a waste of time productive and the extra hour of sunshine. the evening would reduce the consumption of candles.
So the time changed for the farmers a long time ago, but the light bulb changed all that, so let’s leave the cows and the clocks. An old farmer said, “We never changed the time; we went at cow time.
Creatures of habit
OMOTMs are creatures of habit, the word “guess” was introduced by the waitress saying to one of the OFs just as the OF was about to order, “Don’t tell me, let me guess and see if I’m right.”
She guessed and she was. There must be a competition in Middleburgh as the waitress at the Middleburgh Diner also does a very good job of guessing.
However, in Ms. K, many OFs don’t even need to open their mouths; the waitress will bring the breakfast, put it in front of the OFs and the OFs will start eating and never know they didn’t order anything but thought they did.
What is a patient portal?
Then there is something else that has to do with the word “old” and “old”, which OMOTM has already mentioned – computers and smartphones. So many people think that everyone has a smartphone or a computer, but often that’s not the case.
One said, “Try calling a doctor’s office just to make an appointment.”
The menu first says, “If this is an emergency, hang up and dial 9-1-1.”
Then the robot on the phone directs the caller to the patient portal. Whoops ! For many seniors, this is a big confusing question.
What is a patient portal? Some of the OFs who have one feel like it’s so complicated that it doesn’t work, or that the OF doesn’t understand it. All the OF wants to do is make a simple appointment.
OFs say that not all offices are like that. There are desks with an exit so the OF can actually talk to a person after going through a long menu.
There must be a better way that isn’t so complicated. An OF mentioned that he was made to realize that all that electronic stuff would make things better. Well, for him, it’s so confusing that the OF hates calling his doctor. Talk about the OF’s increased blood pressure – all the OF has to do is call his doctor’s office.
These Old Men of the Mountain who are happy that it is not necessary to call restaurants for an appointment are: Joe Rack, Mark Traver, Wally Guest, Harold Guest, Glenn Patterson, Roger Shafer, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Bill Lichliter, Jake Herzog, Ken Parkes, Elwood Vanderbilt, Dave Hodgetts, Bob Donnelly, Herb Bahrmann, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, John Dabrvalskes, Paul Guidon and me.