I visited the dentist today, the first time I have been since, well, let's just say it's been a while. As any of my ex-boyfriends, friends, parents, cohorts, and current boyfriend can tell you, my stubborn stalwartness is perhaps my most endearing charm. Right? Right? However, in this case, my decision to simply "go when it becomes a problem" has caused me more anxiety than need for an actual emergency dental intervention--and therefore I found myself staring for 21 minutes at x-rays of my teeth, and subsequently counting ceiling tiles this afternoon in midtown, while waiting on the doctor.
They look perfect, I thought. See, no worries. I'm speaking of my teeth here. How they appear exactly like a dental x-ray should look: black and white, cartoony. Needless to say, Dr. Dentist was able to see, upon closer inspection, some areas that needed his attention. (Strange how narrating your medical adventures can so easily, if given in to the slightest of temptations, become low-brow erotica.) So now I have to go back next week for the actual cleaning, and perhaps some resin composite. No big deal, right? Some pain, some boredom, heaps of anxiety and finally a clean bill of health.
The temptation to lie to the doctor is there--to say, oh I brush thoroughly three times a day, and floss more than only when I think about it, even though he's there staring down into your mouth. In some ways, it doesn't matter what you tell him--the evidence is clear. It's like people who clean before the maid comes. Or some twisted version of Stockholm Syndrome.
"We'll take care of it, knock that stuff out of there," says the doctor. "In no time we can get you on board." To have been as absent, as aloof and as hidden behind his glasses and face mask as he was, he was remarkably soothing. Or maybe this is what I projected onto him. (There's that Syndrome again. Maybe it's not coincidence that I was once Elizabeth Smart for Halloween.) As soon as it became clear that I wasn't going to ask any more strange questions, ("Should I eat normally?" I said. "Normally?" he asked back, as if I meant to smash my breakfast into a paste and spread it across my pores,) he shook my hand and proclaimed that it was "good to meet" me.
I'm not looking forward to the actual procedure--what crazy fuck does? But I'll go through with it--grumpy and obstinate and sure that they're wrong about everything. It's quite childish, really. But dammit, that's just the kind of guy I am.
PS - Special thanks to Kip for rushing to my side last Saturday when I was sure that I was moments away from dentures.