Friday, October 24, 2008

Put a smile on your face


Background


Today in my Clinical Skills class I role-played a depressed, unemployed 24-year old actor in order to help my colleagues hone their ability to respond to non-verbal cues during patient history-taking. Afterwards, I was discussing this with Mello. I mentioned that it is a lot easier to play a depressed patient than an angry patient because I find it easier for me to tone down than to get angry at my colleagues. In fact, I could see myself actually being depressed if I weren't so happy. I went on to say that I probably seem depressed even when I am acting out patient roles that are not specifically supposed to include clinical depression.

When Mello heard the last statement, she thought I was talking about my life rather than my acting, and agreed that I indeed do seem like I could be depressed often. This took me aback quite a bit. It was one of those "What do you mean you think I look fifteen?" moments.

Though I'm not one of those people who is chronically happy, spreading joy and love everywhere I go (I look up to those people a lot, though), I'd never been pegged as being a sad-looking person before. In fact, I have on a number of occasion pointed out people I thought looked particularly tragic because they looked perpetually sad. Yuffie once explained to me that these people look this way because their "neutral" face is more like a frown (mouth pointed downwards) whereas my "neutral" face is more like a smile (mouth pointed upwards).

On at least three separate occasions, people have commented on my predominant state of smileyness. In high school, another student noted that it was impossible for me to stop smiling and called me "Smiley", somewhat goadingly, from that point on. In undergrad, one of the cafeteria workers also noted that I was always smiling, and similarly called me "Smiley" for the duration of the year. I received the same comment from one of my contemporary peers, though I can't really remember who, probably because they have refrained from calling me "Smiley", for which I am thankful.

Materials and Methods

So, rightfully upset by Mello's accusation of sombreness, we began an informal survey of our peers with the following question: "If you had to characterize Andy with either the adjective 'happy' or 'unhappy', which would you choose?"

Results

As expected, the majority (6) responded "happy." Many could not qualify a reason for their answer other than "You seem cheerful" or "You don't seem unhappy", but at least three answered "He's always smiling!" A couple (2) including Yuffie answered "happy, except in the morning." Their familiarity with me allowed them to note that early in the morning I am usually tired, lethargic, and mellow. J-Rock responded that I was "reluctantly happy", but I think he was just being difficult. Mello and I also tried to ask people one at a time to minimize cross-contamination of results.

Conclusions

So in the end, most people still thought I was a pretty cheerful person who smiled a lot. My world was not shaken, and I can return to going about my life in an overly smiley way.

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After classes were over for the day, I took the subway back to Finch with J-Rock and Mello who were headed up to their parents' places for the weekend. While we were waiting for J-Rock to grab some stuff from his place, I talked to Mello's roommate about the recent federal election. It's amazing how carried away I can get with politics (though I doubt any of my frequent readers are surprised). Still, it was good to remind myself of all the reasons why I think Harper is slimy, why Dion was a great leader but not a cunning politician, and why I think the Liberal party is headed down the tubes.

We spent the subway ride up talking about cranial nerves like the big nerds that we are. Really I suppose it would have been more clever to talk about Embryology, with the big bad exam looming on Monday. By the way, I am still sick, sadly. I think I will have to give up on my plan of resting up until I am better and then studying. I have no choice but to kick up serious studying today - since it's already the weekend - sickness or no sickness.

People often ask me if I enjoy living at home. I usually indicate that it has pros and cons. The cons are that I can't hang out with my buddies the way I could if lived downtown, I suffer through a long commute day in and day out, and the subway is frequently delayed. The pros include parents that take good care of me and the fact that I don't have to cook (because I can't). I should probably start adding to this list that the TTC provides me with one of the most plentiful subjects for blogging!

Today when I was walking to catch a bus to my Dad's office after classes, there was a large crowd around one of the subway station performers. Now this is highly unusual, so J-Rock and I went in closer to investigate. What did we find? Some random Oriental lady singing operatically along with the accordion player! I couldn't help but snap a photo for you guys.

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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

6 pp? that's an awfully small sample size

a_ndy said...

That's a sample size of 9: 6+2+1