Okay, now or never. The long-awaited post on the GLMA Conference.
So if you recall, a few weeks ago I flew halfway across the US to San Diego, CA, for the GLMA Conference (9-22 to 9-25). I still haven't found the words to describe the experience. I'll do a separate post on what I learned there, rather than make this already lengthy post even longer.
Because of an obligation Wednesday night, I had to leave the morning of the 2nd day of the Conference. It was not a particularly good day. About 8 hours before my flight left (at about 6am), my roommate decided he was too tired from playing Settlers of Catan with some friends and didn't want to take me to the airport. Instead, he told a mutual friend to take me and that he'd pay $10 and I'd also have to pay $10 for this favor. He told me all this via another mutual friend on gchat.
Stressed as I was, I exploded. I was furious. First, my roommate decides he was too tired from playing a board game. Second, he decides to tell me this less than 24 hours before my flight leaves. Third, he gets me a ride from another friend who I'd have to pay (and he called it a win-win for everyone). Fourth, he didn't tell me any of this in person. Yeah, I was pissed.
I got another friend to agree to take me. So I woke up around 4am, checked that I had packed everything, and got ready to leave. I hear my roommate running down the hallway and enter our apartment just as I was finishing up. Evidently he "felt bad" and decided that he'd take me to the airport after all. I was still pissed. The whole ride there he kept saying how unfair it was that I was angry at him and that I shouldn't be expressing my frustrations towards him. -_-
Anyway, I got to the airport, got on my flight, and arrived in San Diego in one piece. I was tired from the flight and hadn't slept much at all. I keep forgetting how beautiful California is.
I call Dr. P soon after arriving and again once I got to the hotel. He came down to meet me and paid for my room (I still have to give him the hotel receipt so he can get reimbursed). I must've looked like shit. I register (Dr. P pays again), went to one session, then took a nap instead of getting lunch. I then attended whatever sessions interested me for the rest of the day.
The highlight of Thursday was meeting 2 people. The first was someone I took Spanish with in undergrad. She goes to med school where we both did undergrad. I'll call her "Lindsey" for this post. Anyway, it was good running into each other near the elevators; we exchanged numbers and went our separate ways that day.
The second person I ran into is "Keith." Keith is an Asian 3rd-year infectious disease (ID) fellow. He was apparently looking for me since Dr. P told him to say hi to me. He was really nice. It's possible that I could become Keith in 10 years, except he's way cuter and is a great dancer (more on that later). Perhaps that's why Dr. P sent him my way.
The rest of the day was uneventful. I didn't meet many other people, except a few friends of Keith who just finished residency. I was so tired that I decided not to go out with everyone. I just went to bed, and also I hadn't eaten anything all day.
I woke up actually feeling pretty good, for once. I went down to get breakfast before the first plenary session. I ran into Dr. P and Lindsey there. Lindsey introduces me to the other 6 students from her med school there. I go into the first plenary session and sit with Dr. P and his physician friends. All of them had their iPhones and/or iPads out, and were typing on them or playing a game intermittently throughout the session. This included Dr. P at one point. I was amused.
As the session ended, Dr. P told me to find him around noon for lunch. We went our separate ways to different sessions. It just so happened that the session before noon was one that both Dr. P and I attended, so we sat near each other. Afterwards I just followed him out. We met up with his friends (and one of their med students in tow), and walked down the street for lunch.
The people in attendance at lunch were: Sports Med doc (from NY), Internal Med doc (from NY), Med-Peds doc (from OH), Dr. P, Dr. P's partner (a nurse), and another med student (also from NY). They were all great, and it was awesome listening to their stories and about their lives. Sports Med doc talked about his experiences with Latino patients, Internal Med doc talked about his practice in the LGBT community, and Med-Peds doc talked about starting up a clinic for LGBT patients in OH. They were pretty hilarious - especially Sports Med doc. He goes to the Sports Med conferences and he always wonders where all the gay guys are, but "at least there's a lot of eye candy there."
Then Dr. P mentions that I don't have texting. Instantly they all gasped and were like, "What do you mean you don't have texting?! You're just weird!" That was a bit embarrassing, lol. It was (apparently) inconceivable to them that any LGBT person wouldn't have texting. As Sports Med doc left, he told his med student to text him. ::facepalm::
I ran into Lindsey again after lunch and we went to one of the sessions together. A trans-woman M4 (Kelly) comes and chats with us. Apparently her mom, also a trans-woman, is the current president of GLMA (but I didn't figure that out till later).
In the evening, I hang out with Lindsey for a bit at a lesbian reception thing. Keith was there and introduced me to some residents. After the reception, Lindsey, a lesbian med student from IL, and I met up with other students to share a taxi to Urban MO's where the students' reception was being held. I'm not a huge fan of bars/clubs, but whatever - in a different city, an experience I'll likely only have once, so why not? Besides, Dr. P more or less "ordered" me to go, and he was going to stop by later to say hi.
We get there, wander a bit looking for other students, and finally find them towards the back of the bar near the dance floor. The Conference had opened and paid towards a bar tab, so the first x number of drinks we got were free. Lindsey was tipsy/drunk after her first drink. I get my second drink and gave just a bit to her to taste. I think each drink had to be equivalent to 2 shots - they just added so much alcohol in there! By the time I finished my second drink, I could finally feel the alcohol hit . . . and with that, the music and dancing. It seems I need about 4 shots to get me on the dance floor, lol. And even then I'm still aware of my incredible awkwardness, but I just seem to care less.
After a while, I saw the residents, fellows, and some physicians filter in. I saw this one anesthesiologist on the dance floor who had given a talk the day before. And then I spotted Keith. He had changed clothes in the interim and - maybe it's the alcohol or something - he was way attractive there on the dance floor dancing. I make my way over and ask if Dr. P was around, and soon after Dr. P comes up and says hi. Alas, I didn't see him drunk or dancing. He actually left for a different bar pretty soon after with other physicians. I dance with Keith for a little bit.
More dancing and I was feeling the alcohol wear off. I make my way to the bar and another med student (from OH) gets me a rum and coke. He was pretty drunk by then . . . I worried for him later that evening, but he somehow made it back to the hotel okay. As the night wore down, Lindsey and IL lesbian were getting quite into each other. I gave them their space and left with 2 med students and the Conference photographer (who's also an anesthesiologist). We chat in one of the hotel lobbies for a bit before retiring for the night.
The last day of the Conference! The sessions weren't as interesting as they were the previous days, but still pretty good. I met up with a med student (Frank) who I'd been chatting with for a few months since he came across this blog. It was good to finally meet him in person, though we didn't get much of a chance to hang out or talk at length.
At lunch, I went down to the pier and snapped a few pics. Here are some of them:
Later in the afternoon, I meet up with blogger Mike for a late lunch/early dinner somewhere in Hillcrest. We walked around and chatted, then had Thai. It was nice to meet in person after chatting online for years. He's pretty much exactly as I had pictured him. :-P
When I got back, it was time to head over to the Gala Banquet. I went with Kelly since she had her car there. We got lost for a little bit but finally found our way. It was a nice event, though I felt uncomfortably out of place. I sat at a table with this really attractive Australian lesbian (I assume she's a lesbian anyhow). There was more dancing, and this time many of the older people were on the dance floor. Imagine your mom or dad grinding on the dance floor. Yeah . . . I have a couple pics, but I won't post them here.
Since Frank and I had the same flight, we decided to ride to the airport together. I chose to get some sleep while he decided to go out (and didn't sleep). I set my alarm on my phone but I didn't wake up to it! So when he knocked on my door I literally shouted "Shit!" and leapt out of bed. We did make it to the airport shuttle on time. Phew! If he hadn't knocked on my door I would've sooo missed my flight.
Alas we sat at opposite ends of the plane. The guy sitting to my left was rather large and his arm overlapped onto me. Ugh. This is why I like aisle seats (or window seats).
And that's the GLMA Conference in summary.