Look into his eyes and you can see, why all the little kids are dressed in dreams

Look into his eyes and you can see / Why all the little kids are dressed in dreams – Sonic Youth, Diamond Sea

A piece of art in Ashker’s Juice Bar, in Buffalo

I was sick with a cold, and at a residency interview, trying to be nonchalant about my sickness. The residents took us to a bar, which was really tacky — waitresses all wearing tight striped referee tops and tight pants as the required outfit. Kind of objectification of women, but I guess this is a mainstream kind of bar that I just have never been to before…

Because I was sick, I had no energy to interact with the interviewees or residents, so I watched the goings on from atop my stool.

Guy 1: Where have you lived?
Guy 2: Mostly in Ohio, except for 3 months in Australia, 3 months in South Africa.
Guy 1: Oh, cool, Australia, I’ve been there…

It was cool watching these two struggle to make conversation. If I wasn’t sick, I’d have been in the trenches, trying to make conversation too. But from atop my bar stool, I could watch, and realize: these people are no different from me. Now I am sitting at Ashker’s juice bar in Buffalo. A waitress just came up to me and asked me to participate in her focus group about how they could improve the place. Her voice wavered. She was nervous. All these people, scared, nervous, awkward, just like me.

This cold has given me a little taste of what it would be like to be chronically ill: never feeling 100%. People living with real chronic diseases have my utmost respect. But even when the body is working right, a lot of adults (me included) have a chronic mental disease: not having real dreams. Instead, there are these faded fantasies of sex and money, work and life optimizations.

A doctor who interviewed me this weekend asked: what was the most difficult part of med school for you?

I said: not treating patients as people, forgetting that they are people.

Is there room in the hospital, with its uniforms, electronic medical records, machinery, this and that, to treat patients like people? Hell yes! I see it done all the time. But it takes a constant self-reminder. It takes a certain kind of dream of what medicine is.

When we look at kids, we are benevolent and warm towards them. We think: they are seeing life for the first time, they have dreams. But why just kids? We all need to dress in dreams, now more than ever.

My crack at song interpretation:

Look into his eyes and you can see 
Why all the little kids are dressed in dreams  

becomes, towards the end of the song:

Look into his eyes and you shall see 
Why everything is quiet and nothing’s free 

The guy grows up, sees there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Maybe that’s the difference between kids and adults: kids really dream. Right now, I’ve had just about enough of these weak adult fantasies. I want to dream once again.

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