Tourists come to America expecting a strange foreign land. They usually leave satisfied, but encountering an American doctor is an unexpected bonus, so everyone on the tour gathers round, and I often go about my business in front of a large attentive audience.
My largest consisted of the entire company of the Chinese Peking Opera lined up along the wall of a ballroom in the Hollywood Roosevelt. One of its members had begun behaving bizarrely. I concluded he was suffering an anxiety attack which a tranquilizer might help.
This took place well before Chairman Mao’s influence became passé, so it was likely the Opera’s resident physician had no Western training. Etiquette demanded I treat him as a colleague, so I presented my advice as a suggestion.
After consulting other senior figures, he gave his approval. No one except the interpreter spoke English, so many subtleties were lost, but everyone seemed satisfied, and the entire troupe lined up to shake my hand.