Thursday, September 9, 2010

This Time It's Impersonal

I cannot for the life of me figure out what on earth I've been doing for the last almost-year (- besides perhaps honing my capacities for irony, understatement, and italics.)

Yet some things, besides the irregularity of my postings, remain consistent - like my teeth. Not the number necessarily, but the way they continue to pull focus like petulant children. Suffering no uncertain (which is to say certain), and growing, pain, I obligatorily put off calling my dental S.W.A.T. team and instead busied myself with thoughts of mouth cancer, lifelong loneliness, and physical decrepitude. I can't remember for how long exactly I did this, but long enough certainly to stop doing it almost immediately upon realising that madness had become me.

Then, in a two-minute burst I managed to call my dentist, my endodontist, my oral and maxillofacial pathologist and radiologist, my team of specialist dentofacialorthodontic orthopaediologists - and my specialist periodontic prosthodontist. (Or is that last one a dinosaur? The person who answered the phone said he was extinct now, in any case.)

I greeted my regular dentist (Dr C), prepared this time not only with a list of symptoms, but a loosely bulleted counter-speech for the oral moralising I would surely get, another episode of the all-too-regular over-investment of my dentist in an area of my head for which I have undoubtedly shown insufficient care, but for which - even now - I cannot bring myself to invest in much more than I do in almonds. I blanch (no doubt, punningly) at the thought of a dentist being upset with me, or about me, or skulking around the surgery with some ill-defined mix of the two. I hate the feeling like I might have to call Dr C after hours and say: "Do you want to talk about my teeth? I think a lot went on in the surgery today that you're bottling up. I know you're disappointed in my gums. I saw it in your eyes." She'd be drinking.

Me: Are you drunk?
Her: No.
Me: What were you thinking about before I called? My teeth?
Her: I don't want to talk about it right now.

To avoid these kinds of scenarios, in my rebuttal I was going to point out our relative priorities, about how I thought teeth were important, but yet how I conceived of matters differently to her - not just in this domain, but many others as well. I needn't elaborate now because I didn't get the opportunity then.

Something had changed. She walked in late - tall, glamorous, chatting and laughing on her mobile, like she'd just stepped off a plane - most likely her private jet. She squeezed in a quick, desultory look at my mouth, insulted me with a prescription for amoxycillin, and then said I'd "be good for the weekend." She even winked at me as I left the surgery. How dare she! It was as if she no longer cared. And what exactly did she expect to do with my counter-speech? And all those teeth she'd left me with? I may have to call her after all.

Thankfully this is not the end of the matter. I still have my appointment with another practitioner of the dental arts on the 20th of this month, in the city. I hope at least he has the gall to take my mouth personally. We'll see.