They can from far and wide, this evening after. Cordial pleasantries were eagerly extended, like soldiers in a foxhole, I knew I was with friends. These were faces I'd seen a thousand times before over the years, but in very different circumstances. No young faces, mind you - they never bothered to check their e-mail: too busy, they'd say.
"Wes, damn good to see you! Thank for your help with Ms. Smith. Don't you love it when medicine comes together to save a life like that? I mean, damn, that's why we all do this right?" he said jovially.
"Wes, have you met Dr. Fatchamata Cheesedip?"
The young face approached bearing a platter of some sort: "What can I get you?"
Beautiful venue. People on their best behavior.
Herding cattle, in the nicest of ways, came to mind.
For there they were, a sea of faces sitting at the table facing down shadowed by the faint glow of a cellphone sending texts or Twittering or emailing: "Take out dog. Get to ur homework, k?" "Oh, sure, 24.9% pay cut 1 January, WTF?" "After elections! Time to f-in' quit."
The gavel descending to bring the meeting to order.
"Aye," the back table mumbled, anticipating the first order of business as people chuckled. With a collective average MCAT score of 13, they knew the protocol: review the minutes, vote on bylaws, give some awards, appoint the head Puh-bah. Thank the organizers. Take one or two ideas from the floor. Thanks for coming.
Of course the room grew quiet when health care reform was mentioned. "We're uniquely positioned." "New era." "With our innovative EMR..."
Like eerily awaiting the thinning of the herd.
"Think they'll have those yummy sandwiches next year?"