I rarely have lunch with other dentists. The reason is quite simple: I don’t enjoy it.
As general dentists, we are constantly being courted by specialists. I know they have to get out there and make themselves known. I understand this need. However, this is how the scenario typically plays out for me: When the time comes for lunch, either I or my colleague invariably fall behind in our work schedules. We try, and usually fail, to reach the other one to let them know we’ll be a couple minutes late. Then it’s off to the races in order to get to our meeting place. Sometimes I race to the other dentist’s office. On other occasions I race to a restaurant. Either way, I’m speeding through yellow lights. Sound familiar so far?
Even more exciting is when I am meeting a dentist for the first time. I really don’t know what they look like. Yes, their picture might be on their practice website, but they’ve certainly aged since that staff photo was taken 10 years ago. Oh, and how fun it is sitting there alone looking at everyone who walks in the door, hoping to recognize someone? Good times.
Once into the lunch, I am rewarded by conversation that is always so fascinating. “Are you keeping busy? How’s the family?” Followed by, “Please refer more patients to me.” At this point, even though I know we haven’t ordered yet, I keep hoping the check will arrive. Is that the bar I see out of the corner of my eye? Why aren’t we sitting over there? Oh yes. Because I have to go back to work.
After the pleasantries, it’s time to inhale my lunch. That is, in between looking at my watch to see how much time I have remaining before I have to speed back to the office. Once lunch is over, I rush into my office about 5 minutes late. Just in time to hear patients say, “Must be nice to be able to take a long, leisurely lunch and come back late.” Sigh.
So what if you REALLY wish to share a meal with me? We’ll meet for dinner. I can have that cocktail I was hoping for and no one has to rush back to their office.
Andy Alas, DDS