Thursday, 7 January 2010

Why I Love Outpatients

"Where are you from?"

I had just finished counselling him on how to use Asacol rectal foam when he popped the question. He was Asian, around my age, and fashioned a bad haircut and thick glasses. He had asked the question so seriously, so randomly, I hesitated ever so slightly to answer. I placed the box of rectal foam gently on the counter, and looked him squarely in the eye through the sheet of glass that separated us. “I’m from Australia,” I said. I announced it clearly, deliberately, with patriotic pride.

Snapping up my reply with eagerness, he then goes on to tell me his entire life story about how he was born in China but then moved to Hong Kong then to London all before the age of seven. Oh, how incredibly fascinating, Mr Random Patient, please go on. Actually, no don’t go on. I have about a billion other prescriptions to hand out, so please go away. However, being the respectful and caring health professional I am, I mumble, “Wow, sounds like you’ve been around the world.” Even though he’d technically only been to three different places. He takes these words as encouragement to divulge yet more information about his life history – about his life in London and how he has cousins in Sydney.

But what really annoyed me the whole time was this really fake, English accent he put on. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t actually know if it was fake or whether that was just the way he talked, but it was just really irritating. To put it bluntly, it was a fob putting on a British accent. You know what I mean.

I got nothing against fobs, some of my best friends are fobs (you know who you are!), but it just annoys me when they try and put on these fake accents. Or maybe they aren’t. I dunno, but please just don’t do. It’s not cool.

And besides, you came over to England when you were a kid and have been living in London for like twenty years. Shouldn’t you like have lost your fobby accent and acquired a British one? I’m just saying.

And what’s with the random “Where are you from?” question? Like seriously, dude, I just counselled you on how to administer rectal foam. And now you wanna get to know one another? You want to bond over Asacol rectal foam? Gee whiz, kid. Act at least a little bit awkward.

I’m not sure what the guy wanted from me. Did he want me to say I was from China or something? So that we could bond over that instead of the Asacol rectal foam? Maybe, just maybe.

Ok, so I’m going to stop now before I start offending people. But yeah, I just thought I’d share that random moment from today. Oh, and I counselled this other patient in French. Thankfully the script was for Augmentin tablets and not Asacol rectal foam – my French vocabulary isn’t that broad.


Yan Yan said...

Am i uncool?

Leigh said...

Being nitpicky -- usually it's hard to shake your accent age 6+. So if he travelled and lived in London after the age of 6, then I wouldn't be surprised that he's retained his non-British accent.

I prefer it when people are considerate enough to ask, rather than make uninformed guesses: 'Are you Chinese?' 'No.' 'Are you Japanese?' 'No.' 'Are you Korean?' 'No.' 'Uh... are you... umm...' 'Yep, keep going down the list.'