Today I was at the hospital having an endoscopy procedure. It all went well. It’s not the first time I have one of these. Like with many things in life; the anticipation and preparation is worse than the actual event.
While waiting for hours at the patients area to be called, I was looking around me at the other people waiting also to be called for various procedures. The room was packed. Faces from all backgrounds, ages, genders, socioeconomic status etc. A really good represebration of Australia’s population.
I couldn’t help but examine each one and think about their looks, age, family history, health status etc. - What brought them in here? Who’s critical? Who’s ok? Who’s leaving? Who’s staying...Who’s coming back?
There were people from almost every country in the world. This was also reflected on the staff working there. Here and there I’d see a white-Anglo Australian. But 9 out of 10 were people from other ethnicities. Various languages were heard as conversations were taking place and multitudes of accents. Names I’ve never heard of were called by the nursing staff and reception.
I was pondering upon who is Australian and who isn’t. How do all these people around me identify? What do they call themselves? What do others call them? And does it actually make any difference on how they identify? Is it the way we see our own selves and how we feel about who we are that counts or what others see and think? Self implies other. Black implies white. Sickness implies health...
If I had the chance I would honestly do a survey! I would hand out hard copies of surveys and ask people to complete while waiting endlessly to be called. I think this could have been a great opportunity. It would have provided me with some raw, hands-on data about identity, multiculturalism, Australian people and perceptions.
Maybe next time. I’ll need to be doing these procedures regularly from now on anyway...