Wednesday 9 June 2010

Seen and not heard...

This will be a brief one, but it's a neat little illustration of...well, I've not really got the faintest clue what it illustrates, or why, but I'm pretty sure it illustrates something. When I work out what it is, I'll probably make some money out of it.

It wasn't the busiest surgery this evening - the waiting room wasn't packed, which in light of what was about to follow is probably a good thing. I walked out into the waiting room to call the name of the cat I was about to see (see my previous post for client-calling in strategies through the ages). I saw the woman sitting with a cat box, and standing next to her were her children, a little boy and a little girl. They were...oh, I don't know, I'm not good at estimating child ages. Puppies, kittens, I'm fine with, but kids...well, they were about yea high. Old enough to walk without dribbling, just about. They both looked cute to my untrained eye, anyway - the boy looked a little like a smaller version of Phil Mitchell's sprog in Eastenders.

So, I stood in the waiting room, patented vet-smile (TM) on my face, and called out the cat's name.


The boy looked at me, caught my gaze, smiled, and shouted out 'You sound gay!'

Now, I've had a number of unusual responses in waiting rooms, but I'll be honest, this was a new one on me. I believe I might have lost control of my jaw for a moment, but years of practice left the smile on my face, so that my mouth lolled open like a sedated guppy's.

Okay, any of you who know me, it may have crossed your mind by now that our young Satan had a point. I have not been blessed with the deepest voice in the civilised world. I have, on occasion, been known to mince, and it's true that most practices I've worked at have been surprised to discover I had a girlfriend (or, as is now the case, wife). It's not the worst disability in the world, having a rather effeminate manner without actually being gay, and I genuinely don't mind it, but it can get a bit wearing at times. Still, old ladies seem to like it, and if works for the clients it works for me.

The lady uttered not one word of remonstration to my new arch-nemesis, but picked up the cat box and headed towards my consulting room. As I closed the door to the waiting room I could see the receptionists leaping to my defence by doubling up with laughter at the front desk.

The rest of the consult was, if possible, even less fun. The cat was fine, it was only a second vaccination, but Tiny Terror had decided that the next torment to inflict was to loudly repeat everything that I said, in a rather unflattering tone of voice. Whilst I longingly looked at the needles in my cupboard and wondered if it acutally might be worth doing some prison time, the mother decided to very quietly say to the monstrous spawn that she had produced 'Now, be quiet, the man's trying to work'.

Well, at least she said 'man'. Sigh. I managed to complete the consult without strangling anyone to death, or bursting into tears. As the woman left, she let her offspirng out before her, then turned to me and said in a conspiratorial tone 'He's autistic.'

Great, so not only had I been bullied by a child for my entire consultation, and ridiculed for it, I was now also a complete bastard for wishing various sharp unpleasant things to happen to the kid because he was disabled, rather than, say, an undisciplined little turd.

I was hoping to come to some great insight for having jotted this down, but thus far none has come to me. I'm no expert on autism, or children, or anything to be honest that doesn't involve animals (or science fiction), but it strikes me that children can get away with any behaviour they like so long as you put a label on it.

The label I have chosen for this paticular behaviour is 'bastard'. (I probably would have felt much better about the whole incident if the woman had turned to me at the end and said conspiratorialy 'He's a bastard.')

Anyway, if anyone wants me I'll be in the x-ray room, repeatedly radiographing my testicles until they couldn't produce a sperm if their life depended on it. Thankyou, and good night.