Snippets From Interview #2

Second installment of the Snippets Series! This time from the home town of none other than the King of Rock and Roll.

*

Surgeon: Why is it so God damn hard to travel with a suit
I have nothing else

Wife of a Surgeon: Did you ask an attendant if she could hang it for you?

S: Too late

*

S: Um checked in
It’s a room
Better than pirate shack, worse than Rio Nido Lodge

WS: it’s 56 bucks

S: It looks like it

*

Over Video Chat

S: I’m gonna feel weird walking to the hospital through downtown with a bag and a suit on.

WS: What? Why?

S: This place is kinda questionable.

WS: Wait, are you scared?

S: No. You just have to be here to see it. It’s like, one side of the street you think “oh, okay, this is a nice place to live,” and then you turn your head and it’s like the worse part of the city. But it’s the same street.

W: Well, walk on the good side.

*

S: I don’t want to go to this
I just wanna go home

WS: Awwww 😦

*

S: We were supposed to depart @ 555
Now we are delayed further
With no answer as to when we are boarding

WS: Maaaaan
I was so happy you were coming back at a decent hour
darn these people

S: All this shit for a program I don’t even want to go to
At least I liked Chicago

*

In the car after picking Surgeon up from the airport

S: Here, I brought you something

Memphis Pig

The Resident’s Prom

The event is a rather common one. The chief residents throw a graduation party every year. Surgeon has managed to skip out of half of them so far, but being chief in a month now requires his presence.

This evening for me, however, is going to be a first of many things. Among them are:

1. I’ll be meeting Surgeon’s co-workers

2. I’ll be dining at the Ritz

3. I’ll be introduced as his WIFE

Number one is a little nerve-racking because here I am, a humble teacher of writing, about to mingle and converse with people who quite literally save lives on a daily basis. While doctors/surgeons individually are not intimidating (I’ll have to tell you what Surgeon looked liked on our first date one day), when they are massed together, it’s like entering a world that a plebeian like myself will never quite grasp. The jargon is completely beyond me sometimes, and I often marvel at the jokes they laugh at. I suppose this gathering is especially trying because I’ll finally be able to put faces to the many nicknames Surgeon and I have given to his many attendings, interns and fellow residents. Surgeon’s stories and complaints about his hospital and the people he works with abound, but one of the things I adore about him is that he never puts a name to anyone. That’s when I started giving people three word sobriquets: “Oh, you mean The Animal Lover?” Well, tonight, The Animal Lover is going to have a face… and part of me doesn’t want to know all these faces. There is a joy and a freedom in keeping certain groups of people unknown to a certain degree. Your spouse’s co-workers fit this category quite perfectly.

Number two is a little exciting, actually. As a foodie, I am curious to know what exactly will be served on my plate tonight. A chickpea patty? A summer risotto? A completely unknown but extremely marvelous vegetarian delicacy? Bring it on.

Finally, number three. While calling Surgeon “husband” seems exceptionally natural at this point (I don’t, for example, forget and call him boyfriend or whatever), being called a “wife” is still a little surprising. What’s more, people are expecting to meet me as Surgeon’s brand new wife. Surgeon and I were pretty private about our relationship and marriage, so I suppose the allure for everyone else is amped up, but for Surgeon and I, it’s all the more uncomfortable.

It’s the sentiment behind number three that’s causing a slight dilemma for me at the moment, and it’s perhaps one that you’ll scoff at: what the hell am I gonna wear!?

Surgeon didn’t give much advice. He grinned at my worry and said, “Think of this thing as the Resident’s Prom. Dress whatever way you like!”

So do I wear an evening gown, or do I wear a sari?

As a child and teenager, I donned many Indian outfits, be it for Indian parties or American ones. Part of this was because my mother forbade us girls to wear dresses after we turned seven or eight. Actually, she forbade pretty much anything except for loose jeans and long-sleeved shirts. I look like the ultimate nerd in many of my old pictures (glasses and all). While I loved the way a sari looked on me, I longed to wear American dresses with their many cuts and shapes. So when I finally got my freedom in college, I went out and bought some. Cheap ones at first, but once grad school hit, I started collecting glorious pieces.

This is the one I have in mind to wear tonight:

Dress

Yet, another part of me wants to be traditional. I want to bring my culture. All of these people I am going to meet tonight will see my skin, of course, and will assume I am Indian, but marrying Surgeon makes me even more so American. This made me panic just a tiny bit and I found myself sifting through the many, many, many saris I own but have never worn. They are all so beautiful, intricately decorated with embroidery and beads on bright, lush colors, like this one:

Sari

They both sing to me. They both identify with my tastes.

So what do I wear? What the hell do I wear?

Snippets From Interview #1

Snippets: I’ve always loved the word. And this is the perfect way to use it! A series, perhaps, of glimpses into the world of fellowship interviews. A bank of little memories, a  light shower of thoughts, and some laughter, too.

*

Surgeon: Man the airport is crowded today

Wife of a Surgeon: It’s Friday

S: Still doesn’t make it any less painful

*

S: Delayed.

2 hours later

So won’t be in Chicago until 9 likely
Hotel around 10 maybe
And this is how I get to spend my first day off since getting back
I’m so tired

WS: 😦

*

S: Btw your bday gifts came in yesterday

*

S: Ok I’m checked in
No late check out
I just ordered a pizza
Gonna walk over and get it

WS: No late check out??
Whyyy?

S: Because my life needs to be as difficult as possible

*

S: The downtown area is nice
I wish I had a day to walk around
There are all these sculptures in the park
*sends pic*

WS: The Bean!!!
Go see your reflection in it
It’s really fun

S: Oh… I didn’t do that
Just kept walking

*

S: Also my pizza is 24 dollars
It better be f**king awesome

WS: Hahaha!

*

WS: How goes it?

6 hours later

WS: Done?

1 hour later

S: Yeah… On the train back to ohare

*

S: Note to self
McDonald’s fries kind of suck
Also their bbq sauce is water
This is the first time in well over a decade since I bought something from them
I think I’m set for the next decade or two

WS: I don’t remember the last time I ate there

S: I should have just bought chocolate.

*

S: I think this airport has cockroaches

*

Thus ends interview number one.

Number two? In two days.

The Normality

I married Surgeon less than a month ago.

It was on a quiet, bright spring morning, a Monday, the first full day off for Surgeon after a hectic, call-filled two weeks. It was him and me, our hedgehog, an officiant and a hired photographer. I asked Surgeon to dress it up a little, and to my pleasant surprise, he didn’t argue. He wore the awkwardly tight, legging-like trousers I handed him, his face set in an annoyed scrunch until I pulled on the delicately bedazzled top coat of his outfit.

“Well, this looks fine.”

Yes, we did look fine.

It took me about two weeks to piece everything together. My mother mailed me my dress, I went and got henna done, I rented garden space, and I found a little boutique in the basement of a townhouse in the middle of a small town tucked into the woods to help me complete my ensemble with quaint jewelry. Oh, and a visit to the courthouse for papers.

Two weeks. $1167. That’s it.

It couldn’t have been more perfect.

Right afterwards, we went and saw Mad Max Fury Road. It was the best just-married activity I could’ve envisioned. Note: the last movie we saw in theaters together was the Lego Movie, over a year ago. Yes, he’s that busy/exhausted/fed-up.

But on that day, and for the two weeks of vacation that followed, it was as if we were a normal couple: sleeping in, taking a hike, staying up late, watching Clueless in bed, having a picnic dinner OUTSIDE, attending a friend’s wedding and keeping ours a secret until their day was over, and “not talking about that place unless absolutely necessary.” His words, not mine. Surgeon cannot stand that place most times: that place doesn’t give time back.

And so when I waved goodbye to him at the airport as he headed back to that place two weeks earlier than I would, the real normality settled in. His normality. My normality.

Our normality.