Instead, what really bothered me about this event was the casual conversation I was privy to at a random table filled with middle aged refined-appearing doctors and their plastic wives, dressed up to scream both "I have class" and "I am more expensive than you" but proving the always dependable Trophy Axiom, which boldly states that these ladies may have been trophy wives once, but just like all those bullshit trophies you got in AYSO soccer when you were a kid, they all end up in the trash sooner or later. After progressing beyond the casual "So where are you from?", "What kind of doctor do you want to be?", and "Let me tell you about my amazing children...", the subject inevitebly turned to the specific source of funding I had received that garnered my invitation to this event. Rather than admit that I was just there to keep my friend company and maybe, just maybe, score with a quasi-celebrity, I brought up the huge wad of cash these people indirectly sent my way so that I could participate in an incredible program last year that allowed me to travel to a small town in Mexico and live and work in a hospital for a month . Here is the dialogue that ensued:
Me:...so it was an incredible experience, I learned a lot, and the people there were so generous.
Lady 1: So how is your Spanish now?
Me: Oh it definitely got a lot better.
Lady 2: That's great...you know, I tried to pick up some Spanish too...
Lady 1: How come?
Lady 2: Well, you se-
Lady 1: Wait, let me guess - your housekeepers weren't doing what you wanted but you couldn't tell them how you wanted your house cleaned, right?
[Both ladies laugh hysterically. Doctor-husbands nod in approval and laugh as well.]
Lady 2: How'd you know?!?
Lady 1: I tried the same thing, but I was too lazy to learn Spanish, so I just scream at her when she does something wrong. Help these days...it just isn't the same like it used to be.
Doctor 1: Say, maybe you could teach us some words, like "clean" and "windows"!
[More middle-aged laughter]
Apparently, these people did not get that memo passed around to Whitey a few years ago that this sort of dialogue and behavior was just not OK anymore. The conversation then twisted and turned to the demise of a local public school system as a result of the alarming influx of immigrants over the last twenty years. By this point I decided I'd had enough, got up, and left.
As a future doctor (well, let's see if I passed that surgery final first), I very well may find myself at some point being offered admission to these kinds of social circles (unless they read this crap, of course), since for whatever reason physicians have some easier access to these echelons of society simply by virtue of the MD at the end of our names. So I chose a careful title this time around, because I want to emphasize that what I described was a future, but not necessarily mine or those of my peer medical students. While I use this forum mostly as a method of catharsis, venting, and a chance to dish out my cynicism (there will undoubtedly be plenty of my peers who choose that path), I also use it as an opportunity to discuss my utter cluelessness about what I want to do with my life. However, last night was the first time where I felt confident about my future, only in so much as I know about a future I do not want and will not pursue, which I guess counts for something. The allure and illusion of the trophy is nice, but I'll take the genuine guilt that has gotten me this far anytime.