Having once been a student of cultural anthropology, I still find myself taking the discipline’s participant-observer lens to everyday social situations. It makes me kind of weird at dinner parties, but I just love the anthropologist’s calling to “make the familiar strange and the strange familiar.” Opportunities abound. Perhaps especially in the modern medical world in which I work.
I’d like to share a prime example of a professional interaction I had last week that I found fascinating (at least in retrospect). In part because of episodes like these, I’ve come to suspect that our world is full of symbolic rituals hidden in plain sight.