Not. Kristina entertained me at Harald’s party. She’s Swedish. What fascinated me was she’s actually related to a famous Swedish neurosurgeon. Don’t ask. Hey! It was a party where the birthday boy was a neurosurgeon. I sat with her and she tested me on identifying Swedish, Finnish, or Norse women from their looks. I was a miserable failure. You can’t judge a book by its cover. We traveled from Unset back to Oslo and then I never saw her again. Like me, she lived in NY. She remembered me to some folks at Harald’s house some years later. I remember her too. Harald’s Norse. She’s Swedish. Can you tell? I will admit… nah… it would only give me grief.
(not… in a galaxy far away) …for me. I was friends with this group for a long long time – more than 25 years. Things change. We are not much in contact. Two of the four couples are divorced. Guys are good. We don’t stay in touch. The wives do all of the work. So I am not in touch. I’m lazy? Don’t care? No, just passive. Friends who remain friends work at it to stay in touch with me. Sorry. I’m just ok with whatever. I’m gregarious and like a good laugh. But, I don’t chase. I don’t cling. I’m passive. If you go, it’s ok. If you are there, it’s all good. So, it is with some interest that I ran across this old picture of when they all spontaneously posed for me. It’s a nice memory. Time has moved us on. It was a bright sunny day and a bright memory too. Regret?
The “ladies?” They stay in touch and remain the best of friends. The guys? Silence. We can’t be couples. So, everyman for himself. It’s a guy thing. Regret?
There is the story of the fisherman and the biggest fish you ever saw…. In one day recently, I saw a vulture – 3 foot wing spread – sunning and drying its wings in a field – and a pair of cute kids walking in the mist under an umbrella. You won’t get to see those shots. I missed them. Sorry, I see things but don’t always get a shot. Darn!
Here’s another from the archives of way back. We (four couples and my kids) used to rent a ski house. This one time we unexpectedly had a hot tub for which no one was prepared to play in. Undaunted and armed for any (wardrobe) possibility two ladies went in anyway. They were surprised by the guys. It was a big laugh, except one of them was only partially robed. I got there too late with the camera. It was already G-rated and tame by the time Jules summoned me.
I get melancholy looking at this image. I’m thinking about what lasts in life. Fran was a “good person.” There are few who qualify for this designation in my world. I know a few and am blessed. She was a quiet dependable friend. What can you say? She was just there for me on so many occasions. I never ask/asked for help. It’s just me, how I operate (pun). I miss her… both Ginny and me and a lot of others.
Don’t laugh. I don’t fit into this tux any more. The occasion? It was a formal dinner for a hospital fund raiser. I do believe it was the infamous dinner where Richard left after the soup. Yeah, he was a weird guy. … just left without even a “good-bye.”
This is for Ginny. It was her going away party. Retirement? Nah? Don? He’s a good sport. He does some weird shit?! In this case he was setup by the OR nurses who dressed him in a fake butt and sock filled jock strap. Yeah! You can’t make this shit up. Surprise?! Yup! She was! The photo is priceless and the expression barely recorded. I didn’t know what was coming. So, credit me for not dropping the camera and recording an image or two. There was a group of high school soccer girls in the next room who rapidly departed.
Why today? She’s been asking me to post people. It’s her birthday. She’s old! Really really old. Happy!
It’s not a good photo. I could improve it with means. I’m not bothering. It’s okay. It’s about the story. 2014. No. 2015. Was it? Gee time passes quickly. Valentine’s Day. Get it? Don’t try. I’m being obtuse. However… we were in this same restaurant again recently. I think it’s the second time for me (in this restaurant). It’s not Valentine’s. But I am there again with the same folks; yes,… and with my very significant other. The last time it was on the eve of our buying a house in Delaware. Prior to that, I had never even been in Delaware. And the topper? I was asked, “So how do you like the neighborhood?” just as I was driving in Delaware for the first time. Oh brother! You can’t make this stuff up. So, it was nice to have a steak once again. Meanwhile, my companion has gone vegetarian since then. She ate the risotto.
Not quite. I’m not religious. Particularly. In Saudi this view does not fly. So, say nothing. I was advised to do so and for this particular time I did so. So there is no upcoming crucifixion. However, there is always a last supper. My last night in Jeddah, well next to the last, I ate out with the people who cared about me and meant most to me. It was “bye.” We had a very nice peaceful subdued dinner in a Korean restaurant. My circle was complete. I taught Khalid how to use chop sticks in about ten seconds. He’s good. I’ll be missed. And I will miss them. A lot of history was shared these past four years. To paraphrase – what happened in Jeddah, stayed in Jeddah. Or, if you have something nice to say do it. No one likes to hear complaints. To which I can only add, “We sure did some interesting shit.” Yes, that’s the operative word.
The hardest thing about leaving anywhere is the friends you leave behind. And there is a certain familiarity to sameness. Folks don’t want to break away from the familiar. Would that be a contributing factor to mid-life crisis… fast car, girlfriend, new wife…? I grew up in a lot of different places. I’ve worked in a lot of places. Some things are constant – my profession and specialty. But otherwise, I have moved among groups and things with relative aplomb. No! I do not like to learn new operations. But learn we must. Or retire. It works that way. Watch. Observe. Shake your head. I watched my senior partner who could no longer operate. He’d failed to learn new tricks. It forces you to depend upon others or… retire. I promised myself never to be so. Fortunately, folks are friendly enough wherever you go. Characters! For sure! They are not family. They are friends. So I made some when I arrived.
Wissam , neurologist, sometimes scuba diver, with a poor sense of direction – in the sea. He once tried to Sudan. I pulled him back, pointed him correctly, and told him it would have been a very long swim…
Rida, ophthalmologist, a man with muscles who could do delicate eye surgery, someone better with 10-0 suture than me – by far!
And Nasser, GS – general surgeon, no – he does not dress like this for the OR. But the man undeniably has style.
Farid, orthopedic surgery – are you seeing a pattern here? Farid is the closest buddy I have here. Curiously, I’m older than all of them. See that? I apologize to him for this picture. Things will tie in eventually… He got me to learn scuba diving. And then we went on a boat trip. He’s very gracious. Shhh.. don’t tell him. He gets sea sick and actually hates boats. To be sure he gave me some pills for sea sickness. Yes, I toss my cookies too. Actually the secret is that when the boat stops, the up and down immediately makes you hurl. Got it? Laughing yet. It’s hard when you are green! What Farid neglected to say, was that he took six pills. We literally had to push him over the side to dive when the time came. He did not remember too much about the diving that day. That would put him high on my friend list – to take me – when he’d rather not. Yes, you make friends. Life is about change. It sometimes feels like jumping from the fire from the frying pan. But on the other side, the experience is exhilarating. One go around, life is one way. I’m thinking I’d like to have been in new situations and recall the stories with fondness.
I hide out in an alcove of the hospital. No office. Nowhere to hide. There was an area on the second floor…but they told me people would hide out and have sex. Damn, why do I always miss out on stuff like that. So I am being harassed by my buddies. They make fun that they see me sleeping when they walk by. I know it’s not true because they have never complained about my snoring. Faisal is on the right. He is from Yemen and is my gym buddy. He calls to wake me when I pass out on the gym mat. Rida is my neighbor in the compound and the chief of eye surgery. The whole body – and all he cares about is 2 square centimeters of eye. Yeah, pretty funny. Obviously I was not sleeping. I took the picture! Right? Yes, it’s not much of a portrait, but then again this was not a beauty contest.
Everyone happy? You bet. People were smiling for two days straight. Unlike weddings before digital, the smart phone has captured spontaneity and turned everything on end. I still like a real image, you know, real camera? But the smartphone captures that moment in ways film never could. Instant. Instant feedback. Do over. Yup. No waiting. It’s the new order. There are more smartphone images and by far iPhone images online than traditional camera images. Bet you knew that. I’m still amazed at how digital imaging has so easily allowed us to take images in the dark. No flash. No muss. No fuss. Totally spontaneous. Ok, so I shot with a real camera and with a real flash. But you get the idea. They walked away with a shot in hand immediately. Hello World!