Friday, June 29, 2007

The World Still Turns

It's funny, and at the same time reassuring, to know that the world still turns.

There was once a time when I felt that I was the odd man out. As the only one seemingly affected by the many frustrations while working in a government hospital, I felt unable to connect to my colleagues who apparently handled the pressure well. For them, residency training is a hellish phase that everyone is required to go through - only for three or so years.

Surprising, then, for me to find out recently that one of my close friends have taken a hurried sick leave, not unlike the one I took before getting a concession to leave without pay for six months. She has texted me that she could not bear the "rat race" anymore and wanted to leave. Another friend also wants to resign and transfer to a less-strenuous private hospital with a similar training program.

Both not wishing to answer my subsequent text messages, and ignoring my calls altogether, I could only speculate on the deeper reasons behind their discontent. I then remember that my forthright disclosures through this blog and in person could not be easily done by other people, with good reason. I could only support these two anonymous friends in spirit, by telling them to discuss any and all eventualities with their friends and family, and to accept that there is more to medicine than enduring a medieval system of self-flagellation that is residency training.

On the flip side, just now I was woken up by a call on my cellphone, without a number registering on the screen. I had assumed that it was an unannounced conference call for Mensa Process. Instead, it was from two dear friends, classmates, and Fraternity brods Jong and Sem calling from New York... or was it New Jersey?

The whole time, the connection had much to be desired - most probably VoIP. From what I could make of it, they were both doing very well with their residency training programs. No hint of discontent in their voices. And the ultimate measure of success, at least in relation to their stinginess during medical school, was shown by them upstanding each other when the bill comes for them to pay. Hindi na naghihintay kung sino ang kukuwenta ng kailangang bayaran.

They asked about me, and it really didn't surprise me that they were not able to read the Fraternity mailing list, check the Friendster bulletin board, or even this blog. I'm sure they still don't know the URL for this blog. So I told them about my recent travails, or how a potential legal liability spelled unemployment for me. They reassured me that we will all get rich together, because that's basically the reason why we went into medical school, right? (Just kidding.) They also apologized for not knowing the unfortunate events that have happened to me. They really didn't need to apologize and it was slightly weird that they did. 24 minutes and it was time for them to go and seek cooler climes, it being the beginning of Summer.

All these brought straight to my cellphone. I wonder if it had been different, if there was no time to think about the irony of things, and unrealized dreams. At least now I am sure that the world still turns, and it will not stop to wait for me.

Started reading The Cliff Walk by Don Snyder. I immediately fell in love with this book while reading the back cover: a professor of English, given the pink slip, unable to find a comparable job and was finally employed as an unskilled construction worker. Maybe in his prose I could find some comfort, in this society where people are increasingly defined by the work that they do.

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