|Our gathering was smaller and somewhat mellower. I didn't notice any helicopters flying overhead.|
I'm at a hotel near a beach north of San Francisco, though not quite as far north as I was when I had my little enforced vacation a couple of months ago. I'm sharing a hotel room with my medical school best friend, who shall be called Sophronia tonight, although she gets a different name almost every time I reference her. (I came up with the name Sophronia because it was the name of one of Joseph Smith's sisters. I've never hear of anyone else named Sophronia. Have you? Anyway, someday she'll be comfortable being called by her actual name in my blog. Or maybe she won't. I'll honor her wishes. in the meantime, she'll get a different and possibly more creative name each time I mention her in my blog.
The room is comfortable, with two queen-sized beds. Actually, that's more comfortable for Sophronia than it is for me. I still prefer a twin-sized bed. It's cozier. Sophronia is almost my height, maybe an inch taller, but she likes to stretch out. I could have ordered a roll-away twin bed to be delivered to the room, but the mattresses on the roll-aways aren't nearly so luxurious as are the ones on the permanent beds in the rooms.
Our cohort, minus mostly just the relatively few of us who were on some form of duty, met on a beach in the aforementioned area north of San Francisco for purely social purposes.
One person not here tonight who had no weekend duty was the woman who sent the puerile yet toxic text to me following the event several weeks ago when I was denied entrance into a bar because the manager didn't believe that I was of age despite my valid California ID. My cohort mate has gotten the cold shoulder from the group as a whole, and she hasn't responded in such a way as to make many people want to welcome her back into fellowship of the group. I'm staying out of everyone else's responses. I have no obligation to rise to her defense. I showed the text to exactly two people: Sophronia and Matthew. The author of the test showed it to far more people than I did. She was proud of the venomous nature of her text. Now she's sleeping in the bed she made for herself. The bed she's sleeping in tonight is nowhere near here. Perhaps she had a family obligation or a date with a really hot guy. or perhaps she felt unwelcome. I don't particularly care either way. When our paths cross, we do not greet one another. That's not likely to change anytime soon. She's reportedly looking at other options for next year. If such were to work out for her, that might be the best for everyone. Her continued participation in our program isn't harming me in any way, but I doubt it's doing many good things for her self esteem and sense of self-worth. Shortly after the incident, I would have said I hated her. I did, in fact, use that very word in a phone conversation with a friend. He responded as either my parents or pseudo-relatives would have responded, which was to say that hate is an inappropriately strong word and probably isn't one I should use in what is, in the long run, a situation that will fade into almost oblivious folds of my memory sooner rather than later.
While I appreciate the wisdom of friends with more maturity and less stupidity than I, I look forward to the time when I possess sufficient wisdom and self-control to know to avoid using words like hate in situations that will inevitably pass without having to be reminded to moderate my choice of words more carefully.
Among the attendees tonight was one of the people who was unkind to me in the previously described incident. Her role in the misunderstanding was that when I asked if we as a group could try the establishment across the street, as it was nicer than the original bar and its management might possibly acknowledge the validity of my driver's license, she responded, "You can go to the club across the street if you want, Alexis, but we're all going here." Her handling of the situation was on the ugly side, but I won't cast her in the role of the Anti-Christ. I say hello to her if I pass her in a hallway. I don't smile when I say it, but I at least greet her. I don't want to be her friend, but neither do I wish to be her mortal enemy. If we need to work together, I would prefer for it to be a civil and workable situation. In no case do I want my superiors to feel that they must schedule the two of us to be in separate rotations, as such would reflect poorly on me as well. I was happy that she was here at our gathering tonight. Her attendance didn't in any way indicate her undying love, or even undying like, for me; it had absolutely nothing to do with me. On the other hand, the group as a whole had taken my side in the incident, and she heard the disapproval of numerous people, and not in the most diplomatic of terms. I'm glad any animosity against her was short-term and she hasn't been made to feel not part of the group on my account. I certainly wasn't about to volunteer to let her squeeze a rollaway bed into my hotel room. The last I heard, she was having a tough time finding anyone with whom she could bunk and wasn't crazy about springing for the full cost of a room herself. We can't all get what we want, and actions sometimes have consequences. C'est la vie if her difficulty in finding a temporary roomie had anything to do with the situation involving me. I don't really care one way or another about it as long as my brother isn't volunteering to share a room with her.
Matthew actually has a room with a two-way door connecting our two rooms. We didn't request it; it just worked out that way. He's sharing his two-queen-bed room with Timmy, who occasionally has time off now that he has advanced to the rank of second-year resident. He's obviously not technically one of us, but he as been adopted as our cohort's unofficial mentor. We invite him to social gatherings, and he comes when he can. He's not involved in a relationship right now, so if he's not working, he's usually available. I dated him briefly, but our family histories are so intertwined that it felt practically incestuous, plus he's five years older than I. Right now, five years isn't such a significant interval, but more than two ears ago when we dated, the gap was less easy to bridge. He's brilliant, kind, gorgeous, and heterosexual; he'll be an amazing catch for some lucky woman.
We had a delightful gathering on the beach tonight with lots of food, plenty of hot and cold drinks with and without alcohol, some beach football and volleyball before dark, and recorded and live music after dark. I think I managed to achieve the often-illusive perfect buzz.
We're an amazingly cohesive unit. Conflict is unavoidable, but we deal with it when it happens. I can see all but one or two of these people being on my Christmas card list forever. It's probably a group that will hold five-year reunions, which I will make every effort to attend while ignoring my high school reunions, which have little meaning to me.
I fielded a few questions about Friday's presentation to the psych and neuroscience students from cohort mates who had not known of my history; realistically, why should most of them have known? there wasn't a lot to say. Shit happens. You thank your lucky starts that your injuries are not permanent, you deal with the psychological issues as quickly as you can, and you go forward with your life.
I learned one interesting thing. A bearded man in a baseball cap wearing sunglasses sat in the very back row during my presentation. At the time, it reminded me a bit of a House, M.D. episode in which House himself wore a baseball cap and sunglasses as a disguise in order to, during a presentation, harass a former medical school classmate with whom hed'd had a long-standing feud. I hoped the person wasn't disguising himself similarly in order to harass me, but more than that, I hoped it wasn't anyone who might be stalking me. I learned from my classmates that it was Professor Larry Bakman. He wanted to hear my story in my words, but thought his presence might be unnerving to me. I'm not certain whether his disguise or his unconcealed presence would have been the more unnerving, but, just the same, i can appreciate his thoughtfulness. He did what he believed would be the lesser of the stressors as I would be impacted, and even risked looking a bit silly in front of his peers in doing so. It was an act of kindness for which I am appreciative.
Tomorrow (technically this) morning we have a banquet room reserved for a late brunch buffet. It won't being until 11:00 a.m. Some of us will head directly back to our homes near the medical school center, while other may hang around on the beach for more socialization prior to making the return trip. I haven't yet analyzed traffic patterns, which will be the determining factor for when I leave, though i'm traveling with Matthew and Sophronia, neither of whom is as stressed by traffic as am I. My suspicion is that we'll be among those spending time on the beach and departing later.
I need to be on duty early Monday morning in the E.R. of the children's hospital. It's not like the surgical rotation, where I needed to read all records for an hour before anyone else connected with the first surgery was on the scene, necessitating a 4:30 arrival time. My shift begins at 6:00 a.m. on Monday. As I'm not replacing anyone else who will be going off-duty, I won't have to be present for any briefings. Still, I would be prudent to be dressed and in place by 5:45. I've gotten a bit lazy in the last two weeks of outpatient pediatrics, when I had only one early day -- the one for the twin c-section - but, overall, a 6:00 a.m. call time is practically considered sleeping in.
I wish more nights in my life could be like tonight was.