Over the weekend we took advantage of the offer of a free suite at the Embassy Suites up in Columbia. It was included as part of a Family Medicine Interest Day that Aubrey was attending. The whole conference was free, and since only Aubrey was going to the workshops, I pretty much got a free ride the whole way. I hung out in the spacious hotel lobby all afternoon leisurely reading my book and watching ESPN on the big screen TV.
I did, however, attend the residency fair in the evening. I'm always quite torn about the residency fair, it draws me in, but also pushes me away. I love it, but I also hate it.
You see, the fair is right at dinner time, after a long afternoon of sitting in the lobby not attending workshops I'm quite hungry. And they supply food. Right in the middle of the room is a long table filled with delicious appetizers, little fried chicken wings, eggrolls, things on pieces of bread, etc. And all around the outside of the room are booths advertising residency programs, each loaded down with free items that I want. There are pens, caribiners, flashlights, bags, cd cases, organizer thingys, and so on. But here is the problem. Throughout the room, between the food and the free things, are all kinds of residency representatives. Each wanting to talk to you. You have to keep moving, and try to avoid eye contact, else one of them will introduce themselves to you. Occasionally I would linger too long eyeing some of the free things, and I would get pounced on by a rep. Of course, they only wanted to talk to me because they thought I was a potential resident. About 10 seconds into the conversation they realized that I was not eligible to come to their program, and then they had no interest in continuing the conversation. I, of course, had had no interest in beginning the conversation. But their we are, locked in small talk, nothing to say, chatting idly about the eggrolls. This is social situation DefCon 4, immediate extraction necessary. I tried to stick close to Aubrey, so I could draft off her wake and get into the free stuff zone, but she was actually talking to the reps, so this only worked for a short time. Getting my fill of appetizers took about 15 laps around the room, remember you have to keep moving, then I retired back the the hotel lobby where I could watch ESPN in peace.
Thankfully, the social balance of the evening was restored by going out to dinner with our friends the Tuten's. Chris and Marcie are some of Aubrey and I's favorite people. We went to dinner together and then got ice cream, and after four hours of talking, we said goodnight. Aubrey and I both felt like we could easily spend another four hours without running out of things to talk about. They're the kind of friends who leave me feeling restored rather than depleted.