Lazy Musings of an Unstructured dreamer: The Dentist

 I was so tired, I found myself drifting to a strange land, to dream land…..




  
The Dream

I was already a little extra nervous going in, due to the unfortunate discovery I'd made on my last dental visit, which was that my new dentist had pretty eyes. This is the sort of discovery that leads naturally on to other discoveries, equally alarming, like the realization that he wasn't all that bad looking as a whole. You might think this is a bonus, having a cute dentist. I might've agreed with you, especially if your former dentist was an elderly man with a hand tremor. But the problem with a cute dentist is that the second you notice that he's cute, suddenly the fact that his fingers are in your mouth becomes - well - awkward.

Even though my cute, young dentist was running late on this particular day, my wait wasn't very long since the perky assistant would be giving me the preliminary shot. I pretended not to notice her blood-thirsty enthusiasm as she loomed over me, saying in her most pleasant and soothing voice, "You might feel a little pinch."

Oh, do you think so? A pinch? Just a little one? Really?

It really isn't the pain that makes me hate visits to the dentist. I've long since come to terms with the pain part of it. But it still strikes me as slightly disingenuous, this "little pinch" scam played on everyone forced to endure shots. This is like learning that someone is going to Antarctica and suggesting they pack a scarf because it could get "a bit nippy." But then again, I suppose "a little pinch" is less likely to send patients running, screaming from the office - prematurely - then if she were to say, "You might have the mildly unpleasant sensation of a sharp object going into your upper lip, through your nasal passages, and skewering your left eyeball."

This is more like what happened. So now I'm sitting there doing that nervous social laughing thing that one does when the left eye is weeping copiously while the right eye is completely unmoved. I'm sure it's no problem. It's always been the more sensitive of the two. Puppies, commercials, it just cries over everything.
The assistant titters. "That's the trouble with a shot in that spot," she says effusively. "So many different nerves!"

Isn't it just?

We laugh together now, over the thought of all of those random nerves on my face. Punctured and sedated for her enjoyment.

I'm left alone with orders to numb more fully. I'm given a handy magazine in order to expedite the process. I read about Carlos Slim, the only man in the world both richer and more dead boring than Bill Gates. I wonder briefly if I'm too fascinating and dynamic to ever be rich. When my young, cute dentist finally enters - who I have now decided can't be more than 26 - he tells me this is his own personal magazine. Well, of course it is, sweet cheeks. Someday you'll even have a driver's license of your own, and you'll be able to jump right into the Porsche that my dental deficiencies will help you to finance. By the way, is my nose still on? Because I don't feel it. At all.

He's alone when he enters, which makes me feel a little panicky. I don't like it when they don't bring friends along, because then I feel socially obligated to make conversation. Small talk is already not one of my strongest areas, and this is with people who aren't squirting water or waving drills. I'm relieved when the sadistic assistant enters, and she and the doctor are soon huddled over my prone form, holding up the dental equivalent of paint chips and discussing what color to use as though they're redecorating the living room. It was kind of sweet.

The work itself didn't take long, but was still excruciating in its own special way. Maybe I have intimacy issues, but I've had friends for half my life who don't get to be that close to my pores. And then there's just so much to do. Because I want to do my part, see. It's sort of a Gold Star complex - I want to be the best patient ever. Tilt the head back and slightly to the right, open the mouth enough but not too much. Close your lips over the suction, now open. Don't swallow. Hold still. Breathe. Don't cry. It's a little overwhelming. And I never know who exactly is responsible for the water drooling down my cheek. If I wipe it off then I get in the way, but is it rude to just leave it there, all slobbery? My Mama didn't raise a drooler. And by the way - don't you love the dentists who don't tell you exactly what they're doing as they're doing it? Like somehow they think you'll have more fun when the drill is a surprise.

When all is done I'm handed a mirror to approve the results. The teeth are fine, but what really draws the eye is that one of my nostrils is drooping. On my way out, my cute young dentist informs me that he's leaving the practice, so this will be our last rendezvous.

Well, that's just tragic….

Then I woke up… *Yawns*


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