Posts Tagged ‘interviewing technique’

Picking up a loving pair of hitchhikers

July 24, 2017

We stopped by the side of the road

The couple was loving, it showed

The don’t need the dance

That improves hitchhiking chance.

They played, they laughed, and they glowed.

Synopsis: I’m a Family Practitioner from Sioux City, Iowa. In 2010 I danced back from the brink of burnout, and honoring a 1 year non-compete clause, traveled and worked in out-of-the-way places in Alaska, Nebraska, Iowa, and New Zealand. After three years working with a Community Health Center, I went back to traveling and adventures in temporary positions. Assignments in Alaska, rural Iowa, suburban Pennsylvania and western Nebraska have followed.  I finished my most recent assignment in Clarinda on May 18.  Right now I’m in northern British Columbia, getting a first-hand look at the Canadian system. Any identifiable patient information has been included with permission.

I never owned a car till I was 29 and just finished with med school. And, even then, I couldn’t have afforded it if my friend hadn’t sold it to me for a dollar.  I have friends like that, and, ten years later, when I’d done a bunch of body work and replaced the engine, I sold it back to him for the same price.

In those years, I, walked, bicycled, occasionally flew, and, mostly, I hitchhiked. I got good at knowing where to stand to put out my thumb, and how to dress.  I learned practical applications for game theory even before I’d heard of the concept.  I developed a 4-second dance, hilarious in its incongruity, that would bring me rides when women with small children couldn’t get picked up.

I also learned how to be a good passenger.  More than half the people who picked me up found themselves in personal crisis, and they wanted to talk.  I learned how to listen and I honed my interviewing skills to a fine edge even before I thought about medicine.

I met Bethany at the airport in Prince George, coming back from a family visit to south Texas. Starting the long road back, we picked up a couple, hitchhiking their way north to the Yukon.

The young man spoke Spanish with me; I volleyed a bit of French with the young woman but the road noise and my failing hearing made a proper conversation impossible for me. They showed themselves  good listeners, and, when we dropped them off, I pointed out where to stand to maximize the chances for a ride.

But I forgot to give them the benefit of hitchhiking lessons I’d learned: don’t wear hat or gloves, stand in front of your luggage, not behind it. I didn’t teach them my dance.  They didn’t need it.  The movement that grabs the eye, the smile that says, “I’m safe and I’m fun,” came out naturally in the way they played, lovingly, with each other.