Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Postcard from the global village

Today the sun is shining. Summer has finally come to Ambridge and environs (though possibly not for long if the Radio 4 forecast is to be believed). Indeed we now have proper double digit temperatures for the first time in yonkers. Twenty-something in the shade mark you! (That’s in new fangled Centigrade obviously—after all we are not at the South Pole here—although recently one could have been forgiven for thinking so what with all the rains and floods and penguins).*

It’s so warm I’m sitting here in the lunch hour with BOTH consulting room windows open listening to the pulsing chink-chink of a reggae rhythm wafting in from the car park. There must be some law of nature that brings the reggae into full bloom as soon as there are more than four hours of uninterrupted sunshine and twenty-something temperatures if you ask me. In short, barring the absence of a suitably exotic cocktail, and the small matter of an afternoon surgery to be survived (chiz, moan, groan) all’s right with the world.

Which is good, because in the past few days much of the world has been calling in to visit us. So far this week, in no particular order I have seen Black South-Africans, White Zimbabweans, a Kiwi, a few Poles, a Russian, a guy from one of the Baltic nations (sorry can’t now call to mind which), an Uzbek, numerous Pakistanis and Bangladeshis, more than a few Jamaicans (one of whom regales me with a tale of woe about his erstwhile tenants, whom he took to be Chinese when they were in fact illegal Vietnamese immigrants) and even taken delivery of a box of Mangoes from a very kind and appreciative patient who imports them specially for me once a year.

Even ten years ago it would have been hard to imagine such a widespread mix of peoples visiting a sleepy suburban surgery in the heart of England, but nowadays such consultations are increasingly routine. The only thing missing from our little League of Nations is a coach load of Japanese tourists. Oh , no, hold on a minute, first appointment this afternoon, Mr Harunobu, bus driver….

* O.K so I made up the penguins.


Nostrumdammit said...

I distinctly recall carrying out a 'brown bag' medication review for an indigenous Briton a few weeks past.
My main problem was that I enjoyed that encounter considerably less than dealing with some very cheery people from foreign climes.
This Briton required a severe dressing down, in my opinion, due to their incessant whinging over trivial matters and a total inability to take any form of personal responsibility.
Give me a jovial,portly Vietnamese amah anyday!

Variety is certainly the spice of life!

Not that I haven't dealt with a few foreign types whose attitudes lacked a great deal. It just saddens me when our own people have no idea how fortunate they are.

orchidea said...

I'm sure your Japanese bus driver was unfailingly polite, and nodded and smiled a lot. I know it's reprehensible to cement cultural stereotypes, but it's accurate.

Also worth mentioning is that they must "keep face" on all accounts. My brother was married to a Japanese woman. One day, we had a (what I thought was) a mild understanding about a trivial matter and she never spoke to me again. :(

Doctor Jest said...

nostrum-- variety indeed. One of the key things that keeps me turning up for work in the mornings is the sheer unpredictability of the problems people present for me, and the way they present them. The more varied their origins, the more varied their potential presentations, although earache would appear to be much the same the world over...

orchidea-- certainly. I believe it comes from being brought up in a culture where until a couple of generations ago walls were made of paper, and you could get your head lopped off summarily by those in authority for the seemingly most minor of infractions. I understand this has bred a culture adept at "hearing but not listening" to those intimate sounds and voices from behind closed doors, and an intense formality in almost all forms of interaction that do not allow for differences of opinion to be openly aired. And yes "keeping face" can be very important indeed.

Andy said...

I think Penguins (of the choclate biscuit variety) were probably much needed during the floods.

Glad to see you know Molesworth. But how could I ever expected anything else?