Friday, December 10, 2010
Respect -- sometimes welcome sometimes not
When I first saw the security officers at every gate, I was a little worried. They might check every person's ID and I had none that entitled me to get into the hospital and college campus. I had asked the Dean to give a letter of introduction, that he had approved, but it never materialized. However, soon I learned that if I walk confidently and carry a stethoscope, I could go anywhere in the campus. Most of the time the security officers would get up from their chairs and salute me. I liked the respect they showed.
But there were times when the respect was not welcome -- like riding in Metro and the young men getting up to offer me their seats because the seats were reserved for "old and disabled"!
The other time when respect was not welcome was when strangers, sometimes in their forties or fifties, called me “uncle.” With utmost respect they would ask me, “where is the bus stop? Uncle!” Whatever little hope I had of looking like a young man have been dashed forever. Coloring my hair and mustache was not fooling anyone. I guess there is no use coloring my hair anymore. But if I do not color my hair I end up with a same statement in USA. They say it differently but it means the same. In office patients have asked my three or four times, “You are not retiring anytime soon? Are you?” On the golf course other golfers have asked me, “You are retired. Aren’t you?” This has always happened when my hair and mustache were as white as Santa Claus’.