Retirement Faux Pas

| November 24, 2015 | 31 Replies

Retirement Faux Pas and other stuff…


Retirement Faux Pas

My Tiny Cabin

I am sitting in my cozy little mountain cabin in California. My feet are frozen.

I’m not used to this cold.

Came here for the Thanksgiving holiday, to do a little paperwork, and to visit with my family and friends.

This is not a technically easy place to write. There is no internet here. I have to tether a data signal from my cell phone over to my desktop, in order to open my blog program.

Transferring photos is almost impossible.

But I am determined to get this done.

Yesterday I cleaned the cabin, and raked up the yard. This took most of the day. I’m not comfortable unless there is some semblance of order around me.

Today there is a nice fire in the wood stove and I think I can do this.

My first little article is about retirement faux pas. These seem to happen more often as we get older and set in our ways.  Some of us may not even know we are guilty of these social blunders.

Some of these indiscretions are pretty innocent, but there are a couple noted below that will eventually cause you problems…

Then I have part 2 of a short story I am writing.

This is being written in real time. I just finished part 2 and have not written part 3 yet.

Hope you like “I’m Scared”.

And if I have time I will tell you the Secret Agent story.  Met a government man on a flight from Miami to Quito.  The conversation was very interesting…

But first, lets talk about those little etiquette blunders that many of us don’t even know we are guilty of.



Retirement Faux Pas.    Stop That…


Be honest with yourself.

Are you guilty of one or more of these?

I am sorry to say that I am.


Do you know someone who talks too much? Sometimes I find myself doing that. I think it must be my blood sugar level. If I eat protein, I am the best listener, but give me a few jelly beans, and a glass of Fanta, and I will talk your ear off.


What about that loud talker friend you have. You’re in the dining room playing cards but all you can hear is that one loud voice coming from the living room. This is probably the same friend who announces their arrival every time they walk into a room.


These first two examples are innocent enough, and certainly tolerable in small doses.


Have you ever noticed someone covertly try to pick, scratch, or squeeze something on their body while you are sitting in the same room? You’ve seen this. Nail biting is the most common. But I’ve actually seen someone bite a toe nail while watching TV in my living room. I am convinced that this is what they do at home, so they just can not help themselves, it has become a habit. Of course, this is not a big deal, but if certainly fits into the definition of a faux pas.


IMG_0580I remember one evening I was out to dinner with friends. I couldn’t keep my hands away from my face. I had what was left of a really bad, three day old sunburn, and even though I had applied lotion, parts of my face were falling into my salad faster than I could catch them.

I was sure no one was watching me as I was secretly pulling small pieces of dead skin off my forehead. I couldn’t stop doing it. Maybe an OCD thing.

Then I spotted the gal across from me staring, and then she actually told me to stop it, in a full volume voice. Everyone looked over, just as I was pulling my hand away from my face. And as social faux pas would have it, that last scratch left a giant piece of epidermis stuck in my finger nail.

And yes, everyone saw it. (This is so gross now that I am writing about it)


These are just a few examples of easily forgiven social faux pas. No one gets hurt. It is just a little awkward and soon forgotten.

In etiquette, a faux pas is an embarrassing or tactless act, or remark, in a social situation…

But there are some things that might not be so easily forgiven.


Think before you open your mouth and insert foot.

I play poker with a group of guys. We often invite alternate players when one of the regulars can not make it. I won’t give a specific example here, but this alternate started talking about the middle east, politics, and specific religions. At one point in the conversation I was witness to an extended moment of silence when this person finally realized that a Turkish man, and a man who was born in Iran, were sitting directly across the table from him.

He was not invited back.


And then there are those dining faux pas. These happen a lot.

You are out with a group of friends. You order a $6 burger and tap water to drink while others order 2 glasses of wine, the fillet, and some deep fried calamari. Now the bill comes and the heavy drinker suggests that everyone should just split the tab evenly 6 ways. Forgivable the first time? Yes. Not so much if this happens over and over again.


You invite a friend out for lunch. He knows you are picking up the tab for this. You order the $4 lunch special and he asks for the dinner menu. Your friend orders so much food that he ends up taking half of it home with him. Again, probably forgivable the first time, but if it happens again…


This last example happened to an amigo of mine. He decided to invite his friend out for a nice birthday lunch. He let her pick the restaurant. They would meet there at noon, to celebrate her birthday.

When he got to the restaurant, there was an entire group waiting to party with them. No problem, the more the merrier he thought.

When the celebration was finished, he went up and paid for himself and the birthday girl. But as everyone got up to leave he noticed that no one else had paid. He mentioned to the other 4 people that they would need to pay for their own food ticket.

There was a very uncomfortable silence and still, no one stepped up to pay. My friend ended up having to pay another $50 and no one said anything.

This faux pas is not forgivable. My friend is not rich, and this hurt his feelings.

This situation caused this friendship to end.


I’m doing my best to learn Spanish. I have asked my friend to please let me practice while we are out together. But he can’t do it. The minute I start speaking, he interrupts and uses his advanced Spanish language skills to finish the conversation.

I am beginning to avoid this person now.


And here are a few more innocent ones that shouldn’t cause a break up, but I thought I should at least mention them.


Fighting over the check, is as childish as ignoring your part of the check.

Set your cell phone down when someone is talking to you, or if you are in a group, or dining in a nice restaurant, leave it in your pocket. You can not text and listen to someone talk at the same time. It’s rude.

Keep your fingers out of your ears, mouth, and nose. You can do that while driving in your car.

Make sure your feet don’t stink before you slip those shoes off.

At retirement age, letting gas out should only be done because it was an accident. It is not funny anymore to just let one loose.

If you have chronic dandruff, wear something light colored or at least brush your clothes off just before you get to the gathering.  Yikes.

And finally….

When you get to someones home, wait at least twenty minutes before you ask for their wifi code.

Get a grip man. Real live people have got to be more interesting than anything you are going to find on the Internet..


Hope this was helpful. How many are you guilty of?



I’m Scared

Part 2 (click here to read part 1)

Morning came pretty early for me. Ricardo’s phone was pinging and vibrating, and of course, he didn’t hear a thing. Neither did Mark.

But later that morning, Ricardo told me he had to leave and go back to Guayaquil without us. One of those pings was from a college friend who told him that grades were being posted that afternoon. I told him he should wait and ride back with us. He looked at me like I was crazy.

His grades were the most important thing. Everything else in his life was just filler. He had to go, and he was gone within the hour.

We did some more walking and touring, stopped in at Big Ralph’s Hostel to say hi, and we promised them that we would come back for dinner. We did and dinner was good. Andrea and Ralph are the best hosts. After dinner we walked back to our hotel. We had a nice talk along the way, except for Mark, who couldn’t keep from texting his new girlfriend. He was in some other world.

The next leg of our trip, from Salinas to my home in Cuenca was a hoot. We decided to leave Salinas a day early, so transport became a bit of a challenge.  We ended up in a small, crew cab pickup truck, instead of a nice big passenger van. This was not comfortable, but the family was surprisingly ok with it. Wow, I was impressed. I did not hear one complaint.

We weren’t even to Cuenca yet when Mark looked up from his twisted, carpal-tunnel-texting hand and said, “Uncle George, do you think it would be ok it Liz and Ricardo came for a visit in a couple days?”

What was I gonna say? Of course it would be great if they came to Cuenca, even though I had no more rooms, no more blankets, only two extra pillows, and no place for anyone to sleep.

But silently, I was thinking what an interesting weekend this might become. What the hell, the more the merrier! This might be fun.

And it was fun. Especially the awkward moments that Mark and Liz had when meeting for the first time. No eye contact, shyness, stumbling around for the right things to say, it was fantastic. I love witnessing that type of thing.

Of course, Ricardo made himself right at home. He was ready to make us all dinner before we had even figured out what we were going to do for lunch.

I was very proud of my brother, Dan, and his wife, Gail. They just rolled with everything that was going on. We all had a really good time.

And then it seemed, as quickly as Liz and Ricardo had arrived, they were gone, but not without another little change in plans. They decided that my family should come visit them in Guayaquil on the way back to the USA, and that we should all leave Cuenca a day early and come for a personal tour of their city.

And we did exactly that, and had a great time. The tour was great, the hotel was fun, and this was the perfect way to end the vacation. And when it was done, I escorted my family to the airport, hugged them all goodbye, and then decided to stay an extra day to help Ricardo find a new place to live.

Somehow, over the last week or so, this young man had become a part of the family. This was a good thing. And as I would soon find out, it was mostly a good thing for me.

I sat in the airport for about 20 minutes on my computer looking for a hotel room. Looked like the Ramada had a decent rate. I grabbed a taxi, got to the hotel, and took a very long nap. Later that evening I called Ricardo and made arrangements to meet with him in the morning.

Early the next day, I taxied over to “the neighborhood” and met Ricardo. We walked around, made phone calls from posted signs, and even found a few apartments to look at before lunch. In the price range we were looking at, nothing was very suitable. To be honest, they were all as awful as I had ever seen in my entire life.

But as usual, Ricardo was positive and was sure we would find something soon. We just needed to look a little more. I liked his attitude but I was pretty sure we were going nowhere fast. And I was also a little pissed that this had been put off until the last minute. It was not my usual way of doing things.

Lunch was good. Cheap, Chinese.

But after lunch, and in the horrible wet, sticky heat of the afternoon, things did not get better; they seemed to just get worse.

The van back to Cuenca was leaving at 4:00. The clock was ticking, and as we were coming out of the final apartment, I could see something happening to Ricardo.

“Are you really going to leave? We haven’t found anything yet.”

“I am sorry, but I have to go.”

As we walked out the door, I looked at the man showing us the last apartment and said, “necesito cinco minutos, por favor.”

I then looked at Ricardo and said, “This place is not suitable for a dog to live in”.  And as I was half way through the sentence, Ricardo sort of half collapsed in the planter that was in the front of the building. I watched as he put his face in his hands, and could see something happening to him.

“Im scared,” he said, as he looked up at me.

I was so exhausted, and when he said that it hit me like a ton of bricks. We were both just so done looking at awful housing. And I think the reality was setting in. I could see him breaking down, and all of a sudden I felt really emotional. And I was scared too. I knew we were not going to find an apartment today.

And that meant Ricardo would be on the street in just a couple of days…


to be continued…



Close To The End

I want to continue to write but I also want to go visit with my family. My sister is flying in today.

So the Secret Agent story will have to wait until next time. And of course, the final installment of “I’m Scared” will be included. I hope it turns out ok for Ricardo…

So I will close with a few pictures of my family who visited last month. My inspiration.


Mark, Gail, and Dan in Cuenca, Ecuador

Mark, Gail, and Dan in Cuenca, Ecuador


Retirement Faux Pas

Mark, Ricardo, and Liz in Cuenca


Kissy Kissy in the Background

Kissy Kissy in the Background


Mark and Ricardo in Guayaquil

Mark and Ricardo in Guayaquil


Guayaquil Coffee Shop... Extra Hot Latte Please

Guayaquil Coffee Shop… Extra Hot Latte Please


These were good memories and I am glad this blog is here to record these great times with family and new friends.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and tune in next time for more of this crazy fun.



Did you notice my posts are coming more often?

Don’t forget to subscribe and leave a comment if you are so inspired.

I have a lot of secrets to share in the new year.  Unspeakable secrets.


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Category: Living in Ecuador, Moving to Ecuador, Random Thoughts, Retiring in Ecuador

Comments (31)

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  1. Useful Facts About Ecuador - Ecuador George : Ecuador George | December 20, 2015
  1. Rob Hertzenberg says:

    I enjoyed reading your Retirement Faux Pas article, George! Looking forward to your final installment to “I’m scared” and hoping for a satisfactory resolution but wondering how that can happen. Thanks for being you and always keeping it interesting!

    I was thinking you didn’t list any of my faux pas, but then remembered that a faux pas is a little mistake and mine might be too big to qualify!

    Enjoy your stay in the States. I’ll be heading there for two weeks in mid-December to spend the Holidays with family. Looking forward to that!

    • George says:

      Hi Rob,
      Thanks for the comment. I don’t remember you committing any social faux pas.

      I am in the states right now and having a great time. I’ll be back in Ecuador for Christmas.

      Hope to see you next year.


      • Billy says:

        I just discovered your blog and can’t stop reading. It’s down to earth, funny, charming, and fascinating all at the same time. I have been thinking of moving to Equador, maybe Banos. I’m sure your blog will help a lot. I look forward to reading it all. Thanks!

  2. Dena Kanner says:

    Don’t know how many I’m guilty of, but I have a friend who, whenever she is taken out for a meal, orders the most expensive thing on the menu. Consequently, I’ve stopped taking her out for a meal. It eats at me.

    • George says:

      I think many of us have those same experiences with certain people we know. It is funny how common certain behaviors are. Thanks for sharing yours.


  3. Sheila says:

    Hey George! I’m still following you since moving back to the States. Keep’em commin’ friend. Love your stories!

  4. Eden Cross says:

    Haven’t been on top of your blog for awhile… so sorry I’ve been missing it! Now, I’m back and enjoying your slice of reality !! Keep it up please 🙂 and can’t wait to hear about the spy or ….hummmmm!

    • Eden,
      Hoping you move to Ecuador soon. I really enjoyed meeting you. Thanks for subscribing. How did you like Casa Ordonez. Alberto is the best host. Take care my friend and have a great holiday.


  5. Phyllis Madge says:

    You make me laugh, peppered with great information! I wish I was there :o)

    • Phyllis,
      Thank for commenting on the humor of the article. I am practicing at this. Funny but informative without going over the top. Not sure I have it yet, but practice make perfect…

      Thanks for the comment my friend. Have a great holiday.


  6. phoebe says:

    It´s good we didn´t have to wait too long to hear from you again and I hope the final episode will come right after the New Year, because you´ve certainly got us guessing as to how Ricardo´s distress could have turned out to be good for you. That´s how authors keep readers on the hook! Can´t wait.
    Hope you´ll have a wonderful Thanksgiving in the midst of your family and friends. Sorry you have to suffer technically to keep in touch with us, but that goes with being loved by so many people

    • George says:

      The ending of a story is what makes writing so much fun. I can take this story anywhere I want. It might be just about Ricardo and his fate. It could be a happy ending for Liz and Mark. Or instead of an ending, this could be the beginning of something that is very real. And it could be based on reality or this could end up being a work of fiction.

      Isn’t it fun….

      Have a great holiday. I love your kind spirit.


  7. Jack Lovett says:

    Hi George, always good to hear from you. Yes, I have a few ex-friends (parasites?)
    That had that behavior. I also have have good friends who are the best, who would never stoop to that level. Takes all kinds,right?


    • George says:

      It is one thing when someone with very little grabs for a little extra. At least that is understandable.

      But when a person or persons, that live in a big house, that go out all the time, that are obviously set for life, behave poorly…. I just don’t get it.

      Loosen up my friends. You can’t take it with you.


  8. sandy in tumbabiro says:

    hi george,
    i always get a kick out of your blogs and of course the songs. i hope you don’t mind (well, since i’ve already done it hope you don’t add to your list of faux pas) but i posted the song on my facebook page and mentioned it came from your blog.

    it’s much quieter up here in tiny tumbabiro, north of ibarra so i’m used to the “ecuadorian” faux pas many of which you mentioned do NOT appear to be faux pas here in ecuador…
    as you once said: get used to it!

    happy thanksgiving to you, too

    • Sandy,
      I love it when you share anything you find on this site. As for Ecuadorian faux pas…how would I know? What seems like a faux pas to me is just business as usual here in Cuenca.


  9. John Addison says:

    I have never met you George but enjoy your blog. My wife and I were planning to move to Ecuador this year but for various reasons we have to postpone the move for 2 or 3 years.
    In any case, the following story isn’t a retirement faux pas, as I was still working at the time. I belong to a group we call the Drones Club. We would always meet for lunch every Friday (the third rule of the club was that any member could declare any day a Friday. The second, it only takes a quorum of 1 to hold a meeting; and the first, you have to drink at least 2 pints at every lunch). A fourth rule was that we always divided the bill evenly. This was never a problem. Even after I quit drinking, my Virgin Caesars cost about the same as a pint of beer. However, once or twice a year we would get together for dinner with our significant others, and still split the bill evenly. The problem with the dinners was that two of our members fancied themselves oenophiles, and the rest of us let them order the wine. Over the course of the evening, they would take turns ordering more and more expensive wines and argue about their qualities. The rest of us couldn’t tell the difference between Chateauneuf du Pap and Chateau Porch Climber, but of course we all ended up paying equally for their wine snobbery. Because it would have been very time consuming and futile to argue about how to split the bill properly and because they were otherwise sterling characters, no one ever brought it up.

  10. Pam Jones says:

    Hi Matey George!!!! This is Pam from Ontario Canada. Was planning to move to Ecuador but family and stuff you know sometimes …. happens. But I just love reading your Blog and reading all of your experiences.
    Got something to ask you though. No doubt you know of the horror that is happening around the world and I am very interested to know if you feel a lot safer there in Ecuador. I keep saying to my daughter “If this gets a lot worse, trust me, we are moving to some little village in Ecuador’
    So, this little British limey living in Ontario would like to know how you feel about that. So many people are fearful now and that is no way to live our lives.

    • George says:

      Great question. I am cautious but not afraid. Flying out of LAX does not bother me, and I do that a lot.
      I feel pretty safe in Ecuador, but again, I am guarded. Not sure I would move for that reason.

      The world is a crazy place but I am planning on stepping up my travel over the next couple of years. I’m not going to let those crazy people stop me from having this great adventure that I am on.


  11. Glenn says:

    You’ve hooked me to find out how Ricardo’s distress was good for you?

    I am working on arrangements for being in Ecuador June and July. This is my second visit. Have my reservations for Cuyabeno and Gallapagos. Have my place to stay in Quito and Cuenca. Volunteering at a Salasaca. This is a school near Bano’s.

    I think I’ve been reading your blog for over a year. That’s why I’m returning…I miss the people of Ecuador.

    • George says:

      I would love to meet you when you are in Cuenca. I want to hear your stories. Sounds like an exciting trip. Let me know when you are here. George

  12. Lloyd R says:

    always great to read your stories and adventures in Ecuador. Yvonne and I are finally taking the big step forward to visit and tour the country. We have booked a tour specifically for expats and retirement wannabees for two weeks so were pretty excited. It would be great to meet you in person if we are able to do so.

    • George says:

      It is Thanksgiving morning here in California. I’m cooking breakfast. Did you know that they don’t have peppered bacon in Ecuador. So I am frying up a pound and a half so I can have bacon, lettuce, and cheese pita’s every day while I’m here in the states.

      You will like Ecuador even without the peppered bacon. And I would love to meet with you two if you are in Cuenca. Sipping coffee with new friends is one of my favorite things to do.

      Sneak me in some bacon if you can.


      • Lloyd R says:

        Bacon is the best. never tried peppered bacon but it sounds awesome. We’ll be in the country from Jan 9 -23. Lets try to hook up. We do something with bacon during Xmas. Try rubbing smoked bacon in a corn meal with sugar mixed in to sweeten then fry it up on medium as not to burn the corn meal. MMMMMM bacon! I wonder if i can smuggle peppered bacon in my money belt. Ill be in touch.

  13. Cuenca Ecuador is such an amazing majestic city. It’s totally expat friendly if you can get past the normal Ecuadorian stuff that tends to bother most (slow government transactions, logistical issues ect…). From the amazing colonial buildings, to the Andes mountain views…’s just an incredible place. I was just there a week ago and had a 2 month stay. I was planning on living there permanently but decided I needed my home and friends back in the states. Great great place though.

  14. Thanks Cuenca Ecuador. This city really is one of the best retirement areas in the world. Thanks for the comment.

  15. Sue says:

    Hi George,

    Great to see your writing again. Enjoyed reading it. Will wait until next time….

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