Yesterday, I took Mavis to the dr. for a checkup. The doctor she and Edmund saw for the last 50+ years recently retired and the “local” hospital system (35 miles away) sent a younger doctor to see patients in the clinic a couple of days per week. Needless to say, the new doctor is of Indian/Pakistani descent and speaks with a much thicker accent than the Yankee dr. they were used to. Don’t confuse what I’m saying with being racist, but imagine being in your late 80’s, having to adjust to a new dr. after the one you’ve always known retired and your ears not hearing as well as they used to, and your brain doesn’t work as fast as it used to, and this new dr. talks so fast and with the accent it’s so hard to understand…it can be very frustrating at times…but I digress.
Mavis had stepped out of the exam room for a routine test and the dr. and I were alone. He was finishing up his notes from the exam and started to make “small talk” about Mavis and Edmund, how many kids they had, where we all lived, etc. I was anxious for the opportunity because I wanted to share some concerns about her memory while she was out of the room, but again I’m getting off the topic.
As he was asking about how far away we all lived from Mavis and Edmund, I explained that John and I live with them on the farm, they have a daughter in Rockford, and the rest of the siblings live farther away. Quite surprised, he interjected, “You live on a farm?”
“Yes,” I replied.
“You live on a farm, just for fun, right?”
“I’m not sure what you mean.”
“You don’t actually work there do you?”
“Yes, this year we will raise nearly 12,000 head of hogs” (I didn’t add in the 400 acres of corn.)
“Oh how funny. You don’t look like a farm girl.”
What is a farm girl supposed to look like? I should be quick to add I wasn’t insulted, I think he meant it as a compliment, just amused. Sort of like when people find out we have the internet or indoor plumbing. Anyway, this conversation thread picks up again a little later…..
“So, you live on a farm?”
“Yes,” I replied.
“Are you educated? I mean more than just high school.”
“Yes, I have a bachelors in elementary education, but I stay home with my children.”
“Oh that’s why. I knew you didn’t sound like a farm girl.”
I have to confess that last one did get my ire up just a little bit. I know he was trying to be complimentary, but I have to ask what is it about me that doesn’t look like a farm girl? That I wasn’t wearing overalls? That I was wearing makeup and my toenails were painted? That I could form a coherant sentance?
John and I had a good laugh over it last night, but I wonder how many preconceived notions about people I carry around in my head.