Wow, it's past 1am and I am still awake, i.e. not waking up on the sofa from the first sleeping phase of the night. But tomorrow is Saturday and I am not going to work tomorrow, which is as it should be.
Indeed, I could feel it coming this week, and Thursday was my last day. By then (their second week) I had trained the two new assistants as much as I could - the rest they have to learn on their own with the doc - they now know more than I did when I was working alone and had to pick everything up by trial and error. By my last day they had finally eased up on the: "Olivia, Olivia, Olivia...where do I put this, what do I do with this, how do I do this, help me?" So I got to sit in the office and watch them take their first independent steps as dental assistants.
And so I was basically babysitting them - putting on band aids, tying up their hair, doing with clean hands what they could not do with dirty gloves, reminding them of little things they'd forgotten before the dentist noticed the omission (thus preventing another lengthy lecture). I was also refilling supplies, distributing deliveries, keeping a check on things, and holding it together in the background. I kind of liked that autonomy without the constant directions and the confusion of figuring out setups and materials that have been changed and modified for the nth time.
At the beginning of last week the dentist had asked me to write notes and guidance for them to learn from, as part of my "cleansing process" (his words). This week we put them into PowerPoint, and finally I printed them out under the title Training Manual 2008.
One of the last things I did was help the hygienist (who doesn't usually need help) by holding an elderly patient's weak jaw open with one hand, performing suction with the other, dodged a big insect running between my feet, wearing the mask and fogging up my protective goggles - while standing up (no assistant chair in hygienist's room). It was a fulfilling challenge, but like any other aspect of assisting, not something I could do all day every day.
In fact, I worked hard until the very last minute, directing a third new assistant in sterilizing the last batch of instruments, checking power switches, and turning off lights. The doc and I shook hands and agreed there were no hard feelings. He's a nice guy when he's not working, really.
Today I went to lunch with the receptionist (C) and the assistant who left two weeks ago. (She and I had been the "intelligent team" he was so excited about but has now lost, as people like us don't stay in places like that). We enjoyed dim sum together in Chinatown, feasting on little dishes for over two hours. And I had sunflower tea for the first time. It tastes like sunshine in a cup.
We really didn't talk about work that much, but we had fun and will do this again. Afterwards, C and I walked into SoHo, browsed a few shops, chatted about fashion; went into the Whole Foods on Bowery (much quieter and more organized than the one on Union Square) and analyzed the goodies on offer.
We had also had dinner together before my hair appointment (also in SoHo) on Wednesday, and found we had much in common regarding travelling, photography, and food. It's interesting to find the human side of people outside of the workplace. We had fish n chips and Chicago fried zucchini sticks, simple but happy food.
SoHo Spot, a quirky little place with a friendly, relaxing, airy vibe and delicious, hearty food. Yes, the ceiling is 95% skylight.
Last Friday I met up with Chris for dinner at a Mexican place (Chevy's) we had all enjoyed when the crowd from Houston came up in August. I NEVER order beef and rarely even eat it because I find it hard to digest, but that was all I craved, so my body must have needed it. I ordered a great sizzling tender beef fajita. Never touched the tortillas, rice or beans, just ate the beef and the chile relleno on top, and the lettuce, guacamole, sour cream, and pico de gallo on the side. Oh, and enjoyed a mango margarita.
I digested it just fine despite having a nap when I got home - though I have to say, the next day I needed extra fruits and some prunes...
And so I am free! But at the same time, am now let loose into this economy during the latest financial downturn, or - dare I say it - recession. I'm not too worried. Despite all the fearmongering over bankrupt financial institutions (Lehman Bros, et al) and even whole countries (Iceland!), I think we're more resilient than we were during the previous recession in the 90s. I don't think we'll get to the point where there the job listings cease and everyone's lining up at soup kitchens.
Well, that's all for now folks.