Wednesday, March 15, 2006


4 Jobs I've Had

I've had so many jobs in my life that I can think of twenty while hardly trying. I guess I'll list

4 Jobs for Which I Was the Least Prepared
  1. Au pair in Switzerland. This was the summer I turned sixteen. I was reasonably good with kids; the main problem was, I didn't speak Swiss. Now, German, I spoke—and this was the motivation for doing the whole thing in the first place, to buff my German (that sounds kinky, doesn't it?). But Swiss is to German sort of what the heaviest Jamaican is to English. You know the movie The Harder They Come, how they're supposedly speaking in English but there are English subtitles? Swiss is kind of like that if you speak German. I think the kids thought I was a little slow. I ended up learning a lot of Swiss babytalk (also sounds vaguely kinky).
  2. Cocktail waitress. I was bad at this not simply because of my dearth of physical assets, but because you don't make good tips from drunk people when you have a look on your face that says "Not only do you disgust me on a personal level, I find your choice of beverage risible."
  3. Kaplan MCAT teacher. On paper, it looked like I should be good at this—I had made excellent use of the Kaplan materials and scored very well on my MCATs. In reality, I was hopeless. While I had used the written materials, I had never found the classes to be helpful, and I didn't see how they could help someone else much. Sitting in a classroom a couple of hours once a week was not going to change anyone's score. I was supposed to go through questions with the students, but I would typically read a question and say, "The answer is B, because ... because ... well, it's just obvious it's B, isn't it?" And they would stare at me, thinking, "Bitch." Mostly the students made me sad. They came to class carrying bottles of "Brain Power Amino Acids" and chewed their fingernails and asked me too many questions about their chances of admission to medical school.
  4. Grand Rounds organizer. This is a duty that I managed to unload recently, thank god. It involved lining up speakers for our weekly educational conferences. It's a job for a schmoozer, which I am not.
4 Movies I Can Watch Over and Over

Hmm. I can't really watch any movie over and over. Here are some movies I've definitely watched from beginning to end twice:
  1. Office Space
  2. This Is Spinal Tap
  3. The Matrix
  4. 12 Monkeys
4 Places I've Lived
  1. The hospital. I've never had my mail forwarded there, but sleeping someplace every third or fourth night for years adds up to some serious time.
  2. With four different men. (No, serially, not all at once!) No one ever lived with me, because when I had my own places, they were aggressively mine—no room, no shelf space, no special chair for anyone else. After the third guy, I swore I'd never do it again; I loved my own space too much. Then I met my now-husband and weakened. I'm glad I did.
  3. In a state of despair. Added up over the years, I'd say I've spent about ten to twenty percent of my life there. I do not plan to ever go back.
  4. In a quasi-group house, when I was little. I say quasi because the house had more than one apartment, so it wasn't really communal living, except for the hangers-on and boyfriends my mom would occasionally collect. I loved it. I wish I could live that way now.
4 Places I've Been on Vacation

A long time ago I found a list in a travel magazine of The World's Top Ten Islands. I'm crazy for islands, so I saved it, and I plan to visit them all one day. (The list gets revised every year, but I'm committed to the one I saw first.) So far, I've managed to get to:
  1. Kauai
  2. Hawaii
  3. Santorini
  4. Puerto Rico (ok, not on the Top Ten list, but I think it should be)
It seems like a "four" meme should only have four categories. So I'll give in to my OCD impulses and stop here.


Orange said...

I would definitely bump up the tip percentage for any waitress who used the word risible.

Orange said...

Since we're brunching this weekend, let us make a pact to base our tip on the server's vocabulary and usage, shall we?

B.E.C.K. said...

I love the idea of visting islands, and wonder what it is about islands that appeals to you so. I want Greek food. ;^)

Anonymous said...

Oh, how I wish it HAD been with four men at the same time. Preferably in different houses, using your insane doctoring hours as an excuse as to why you were rarely home. And then they would all show up at the hospital one day, and hilarity would ensue!
Also, I loved your marathon story. It made me wish I could run further than 1/2 a block.

Anonymous said...

Oh man, I was an MCAT teacher for a semester, at my university, the year after I took the very same course (and the MCAT.) I taught Verbal and Writing, which was just wretched. My students' writing made me feel ashamed of the low admission standards my University must have. Some of them couldn't even form complete sentences, and we were getting ready to graduate them from a liberal arts college and send them to medical school! Apalling.
The culmination of those make-me-want-to-cry-for-them moments? The morning of their MCAT, I was hanging around the student lounge to provide moral support. One of my students confided that she was still worried that she had such trouble thinking of topics for that damn writing section. I advised her to draw on her other interests or hobbies to help her think of specifics that applied to the (broad) essay topics. I asked her what her hobbies and interests were. She replied "Parting. That's really all." At that point, it was all I could do to politely excuse myself from the conversation.

Anonymous said...

Aak! That was supposed to say Partying. Not parting. That would just be weird.

Anonymous said...

These are excellent answers to that meme.

I agree with you about all four of the movies--but not the islands, entirely. What about Bora Bora? You have to go to Bora Bora. And then there's Bali. (Eventually. Maybe when the war on terror is won. But actually, it's kind of cheap there now so maybe now!) The other ones are good, so I'm just giving you things to add to your list.

Anonymous said...

I've been teaching bio MCAT classes for Princeton Review for years now, and I still don't know what to say to my students who are getting 4's or 5's on the bio section of their diagnostic tests. They ask me how people who get those do on the real MCAT--what am I supposed to say? "Well, those people often end up NOT going to medical school." I think I'm pretty good at it, though, since most of my students learn a lot and end up doing very well.

I've never seen 12 Monkeys, but since I love the other 3 movies on your list, I'll have to check it out.

Mignon said...

I was also a horribly inept cocktail waitress. But not because I thought everyone was drunk and ridiculous. I was drunk and ridiculous.

Huh. I wouldn't have pegged you as 12 Monkeys kind of gal. I think that's one of Brad Pitt's best movies. Of course everything he does from here on out is crap because I'm on Jen's side.

Anonymous said...

I was going to do this meme until you blogged about the cocktail waitress thing and then I lost the urge because I was going to do that and yeah I sucked as a cocktail waitress, whatever, and can't hear live jazz or even a canned bossanova beat without getting jumpy because I'm sure someone's about to grab my ass. Which got me the job in the first place (I was INVITED to work there) and ultimately lost it for me (the Chinese immigrant owner, who brought his aged mother to work every night, got her drunk, and drove her home drunk himself, forgot himself after too many tequilas at the bar's Xmas party, slapped my ass resoundingly, which was nothing new, then bellowed "PORK! LOIN!" which was THE LIMIT...a girl's got to have those, right?). Anyway. Love you as always, and jealous of you and Orange and brunch...mmm...conversation.

DoctorMama said...

ozma -- yeah, this is just three from the list of ten. Bora-Bora and Bali are on there too. Also Vancouver, Great Barrier Reef, Sicily, Capri, and Maui.

mignon -- c'mon, now. If my OWN husband left me for Angelina Jolie, I'd have a hard time getting mad at him. And how can you get mad at Brad Pitt?

I like most of Terry Gilliam's movies, although he's very annoying to listen to.

emjaybee -- I can't spell most of the baby talk. But I can say "Let's make a fountain!" (to get a boy to pee) and "Who made a stink?"

mfa -- PORK! LOIN!

sara -- I would love to be the grader reading the essay about partying, though.

beck -- why islands? Dunno -- maybe because they are by definition remote. I also like how islands are always a bit odd because of the difficulties of getting things there. Not to mention the inbreeding.

alexa -- oh, god, the very idea exhausts me.

Anonymous said...

But I heard the state of dispair was lovely this time of year! I very distinctly recall those lovely spring blooms of ennui.

Well, perhaps the islands of the world are a touch more appealing.

DrSpouse said...

You have to go to Zanzibar...