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2002-09-18 - 11:28 a.m.

Doctor, doctor.

I had tennis doubles league on Monday night. I got there a few minutes early and started stretching out on the court. As our start time arrived and then departed, no one joined me on the court. I went out to make sure I was in the right place and found two of the other women who were supposed to be playing with me. It seems that the fourth player was there, but then left. I was told she was a doctor and had a patient emergency. One of the women was quite annoyed by this and I found myself defending the doctor, saying that if she had an emergency there wasn't much she could do. But the other woman said that the doctor (who's name is Renee) had done this a lot last year and that she annoyed the people she played with.

We found someone to sub for Renee and started playing. Three games in, Renee showed up and the sub left. We played the rest of the night and when I got home, I told the whole story to The Scientist. We tried to figure out what Renee could have done to make the situation better. Should she be banned because she has to be on call for a patient emergency? [The tennis program charges you $15.00 for being a no-show, but that's not that big of a deal.] Should she try to have a standing back-up in case she can't play at the last minute? Is it just a bad situation that has no good solution?

We decided that there really isn't a good solution that we could figure out. I mentioned to The Scientist that when Renee showed up, I was surprised that she was a doctor. She seemed kind of...flighty. Her hair was really disheveled and sticking up all over and she had a distracted, basically ditzy manner. She just came across as being a ditz. I told The Scientist that I felt like I had stereotyped her as someone who I was surprised could have handled medical school and residency and that I felt bad because if she was a doctor she was obviously bright and hard-working but I couldn't get past my impression of vacancy.


Last night at tennis drill we were talking about people who stand really close to the service line when returning serve. I mentioned that I had played with a woman who did that the night before. My coach asked who it was and I described her, "Her name is Renee, she has reddish hair and is a doctor." One of the women I play with, Jan, started laughing. "She told you she was a doctor?" she asked. I said yes and told the story of the patient emergency the night before. Jan laughed harder.

It turns out that Renee practices homeopathy and herbalism. She's an herbalist. Yet she told us she was a doctor and that her patient was having a problem with her thyroid (which is why she had to rush off and leave tennis). Excuse me, you're an herbalist. The only kind of "herbal emergency" I can think of involves running out of weed on a Friday night and calling your dealer in a panic.

I believe that alternative medicine can help people. However, in our society the only people who go by the title "doctor" in social situations are those who have the letters M and D after their name. In certain contexts other people may use the title "doctor." The Scientist has a Ph.D. He uses "Dr. S_____" in professional situations (as a paper author, for example). However, his business cards say, "The Scientist, Ph.D." He would never introduce himself as a doctor at a social gathering. A vet may be called "doctor" while she's working, but when asked what she does would most likely respond, "I'm a veterinarian," not, "I'm a doctor." When asked, "Is there a doctor in the house?" very few dentists would volunteer their services.

Jan says another woman who is an MD rolls her eyes every time Renee calls herself a doctor. Every so often last night I would yell out "She's an herbalist! It was an herbal emergency!" to The Scientist and we would laugh. It's just so ridiculous.

I have to admit I felt a small satisfaction that my impression of Renee was correct. She's not the type to go through medical school.


It's stained! Here's a picture of the wardrobe with two coats of stain on it. Sorry about the reflection. I have to take the photos from an angle because the kitchen sink/counter blocks me from being straight on. This was with no flash, but it still reflected.

two coats of stain!

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