I had an appointment with a skin specialist yesterday – at an Outreach Clinic in town, where the doctors fly up from Sydney for a couple of days a week on a rotating basis. (That fact being totally irrelevant to my story, other than as an aside where I consider that it makes us sound like we live out bush somewhere, rather than in a “city” on the eastern seaboard…)
(As another aside, I was there to try to find a solution to my constant red, blotchy chin – something I’ve put up with for years – but which also has nothing to do with my point!)
Anyway, this doctor says to me straight up – “So! What do you do for a living?”
Well, you know how I feel about this question! Only this was even more specific. “.. for a living?”
I hesitated slightly, then came straight back with my “I’m a.. CEO Domestic Affairs” line.
He processed this, and then said “So your husband looks after you then..?” (or words to that effect.)
Woah! To the point, aren’t you? I thought.
I hesitated, and said “Yep, and I look after him too.”
Then! He asked me how old the kids were. I wondered what his judgemental process made of their ages, so before he could make any more comments, I added that I was starting out with freelance writing. That I’d had some stuff published.
“A book?” he asks.
Sheesh…When I then say I’ve had one article published in a magazine, it sounds like a bit of a comedown. (Note to self – must say “freelance writer – feature writing, and travel articles” in future.)
Fortunately we finally got on to why I was there. (No definitive diagnosis yet – just a trial of antibiotics (more tablets!) and creams, and I’m going back in January.)
So I’m rather undecided about his warm up patter. Is what I do ‘for a living’ relevant to the consultation? Is it relevant at that part of the conversation? I guess he uses it as an icebreaker, but sensitive ol’ me always reads between the lines – or rather the responses.
What I have decided is that I still have some work to do. I’ve yet to come up with the perfect line in answer to that question. Perhaps in this case I should have just reverted to the tongue in cheek line “Oh… for a living? Well – I’ve got this great set up with my husband. He earns all the money, and I spend it.”