Boarding the plane for my first residency interview, I noticed that the guy in front of me had a significant amount of back sweat soaking through his light blue t-shirt. This unfortunate circumstance resulted from a combination of factors: hot/humid weather, running to his flight connection with a heavy carry-on, and the extra 200 pounds he was lugging on his short, stocky frame. Knowing I had a window seat, I prayed fervently that he was not assigned to the middle seat in row 22, thus wedging me into a contorted position with lots of unavoidable sweaty man-man contact for the next three hours.
God answered my prayer. I nearly did a celebratory dance in the aisle when I saw him take a seat in row 19. To make my day even better, I discovered that row 22 had plenty of room for my bag in the overhead storage bin (despite me boarding in the dreaded group 4) and that the middle seat next to me was wide open. As they announced the final boarding call, I let out a deep sigh, closed my eyes, and reveled in rarity of my extra legroom.
And then I felt a rumble. It didn’t quite stir my coffee a la that classic scene in Jurassic Park, but when I looked up I swear I saw a Tyrannosaurus Rex lumbering her way down the aisle with her beady little eyes on row 22.
(Before I continue, let me just say that obesity is an extraordinarily complicated and serious health epidemic, not something to make fun of. I grew up in a state that is about as obese as they come and have many close friends who are obese, so I definitely empathize with obese folks).
Unfortunately for me and for her, this poor woman did not have the foresight to book (or, perhaps, the ability to pay for) two seats--one for each butt cheek. As she settled into her seat / onto me, I quickly accepted the fact that her side pannus would have nowhere else to rest but on my right thigh. She was quite apologetic and embarrassed by the situation (and one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, by the way). As I was falling asleep—wrapped in my pannus blanket—I figured I ought to count my blessings, thank God for my answered prayer and His fantastic sense of humor, and mentally prepare myself for my first urology residency interview the next morning.
This was yet one of the many travel misadventures I’ve dealt with during my whirlwind, cross-country interview season thus far. On a flight a few days later, I again drew the unlucky boarding group 4, but this time, had no space to store my carry-on bag. Forced to check my bag, I mentally prepared myself for the distinct possibility that I would be interviewing at hospital X with jeans, a ratty t-shirt, and much more than a 5 o’clock shadow beard.
Thankfully, my bag arrived to its destination. I rushed off to the hotel to throw on my suit for my afternoon interview. Although this was only interview #3, I somehow managed to mix up my black and blue suits. One hour later, I confidently walked into the Chairperson’s office in a blatantly mismatched combination of blue pants / black jacket. As Charlie Sheen would say, this = winning.
Talking to fellow applicants on the trail, these two stories are some of the less exciting misadventures out there. I do hope members of the urologymatch.com community share some stories (and travel tips) of their own in the comments section below.
Interview season has been a blast (and utterly exhausting) so far. I have collected many stories to tell in future posts and can’t wait to share them with y’all. Until next time…